Where It All Went Wrong for The New York Yankees

The Yankees flamed out of the playoffs in embarrassing fashion last night, getting swept in the ALCS. Is this the end of an era in New York?

Aaron Judge
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 23: Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees looks on during the sixth inning against the Houston Astros in game four of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 23, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Welp, here it is. The New York Yankees 2022 season has finally come to an end. Houston capped off a dominant sweep in the Bronx last night, sending the Yankees packing while seeing the Astros go to their fourth World Series in the past six years. A truly embarrassing result for a team that had so much promise at the beginning of the season.

The 2022 Yankees are a complete enigma of a baseball team. On one hand, we witnessed one of the greatest offensive seasons of all time, with Aaron Judge mashing a whopping 62 home runs. Gerrit Cole was able to break the Yankees single-season record for strikeouts and had a dominant postseason that has won back the fanbase. They led the league in homers, were the third-best offense in the sport, and had a dominant pitching staff.

At the basis of it, this team was built for success. But in the end, madness ensued.

A total offensive collapse in the ALCS caused the Yankees to eventually crash and burn out of this contest. As a team, New York hit .173 for the entirety of the postseason. That’s the second-worst mark this season, just above the Tampa Bay Rays, who played two games.

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Through the first three games of the ALCS, the team mustered just 13 hits. You simply cannot win baseball games without an offense. And that’s what happened over the weekend.

To combat this, Yankees starters and relievers alike had great showings over the past two weeks. Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes, Luis Severino, Jonathan Loaisiga and Clay Holmes performed during the postseason. They gave this offense a chance every single night. The favor was not returned. A dominant lineup that mashed during the regular season refused to come through.

The main source from the Yankees offense all year came from their superstar, Aaron Judge. After a 62-homer season and a near Triple Crown, the outfielder shouldered this offense many times throughout the campaign. The postseason was a completely different story.

Judge slashed .139/.184/.306. with just two home runs and three RBI’s, striking out 15 times. Many others followed suit, but Judge was the main culprit in the downfall of this offense. He was poor, and he knows it.

The slugger is set to hit free agency in due time. Many have clamored on Twitter for the Yankees to simply just let him walk due to his awful tenure in this year’s postseason. Judge was bad. He let this team down at the worst time. But we cannot just forget what he did this year.

Aaron Judge was the best player in MLB and led this team through adversity and has for the past few years. To simply give up on Judge after this is asinine. Aaron Judge is the New York Yankees. And even after such a bad showing under the brightest lights, he’s earned every penny coming his way. This is a team sport. He wasn’t the only one that failed to perform.

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There were only two true performers in this group that stood above the rest. Harrison Bader has become a postseason legend for this team, mashing five home runs with a 1.262 OPS in his 30 at-bats. He was magnificent. The other is Anthony Rizzo.

Rizzo had an incredible nine games, racking up eight hits and coming through in the clutch numerous times. Both deserve zero slander for this dumpster fire of an offense.

Gleyber Torres has been an incredibly streaky hitter in 2022. At the All-Star break, he racked up a 125 wRC+ and seemed to have found his groove after a poor 2021. He fell off a cliff shortly after that but had a monumental month of September which provided much optimism about the second baseman. Yet again, he fell apart.

Torres struck out 10 times in 34 AB’s, getting on-base nine times. To go along with a poor bat, he cost the Yankees the game last night on a potential double play ball when he misplaced the throw to Isaiah Kiner-Falefa at second. The Yankees have been very protective of Gleyber, opting to hold onto the player and give him numerous chances to impress consistently. It hasn’t happened.

Back onto Kiner-Falefa, the trade which brought him and third baseman Josh Donaldson to the Bronx back in March has aged like expired milk. Falefa didn’t have a horrendous postseason compared to the rest, but key defensive errors dragged the team down very similarly to the regular season. The team was obviously not confident in the player’s defensive ability, starting two other players at his position in the exact same series.

Donaldson on the other hand, has been a consistent defender at third, one of the best in the league. But his offensive production severely dipped in 2022 and was even more evident in both these series’. Josh Donaldson was the only player to strike out more than Aaron Judge with 16 punchouts in 29 AB’s. For those of you who like numbers, that’s over 50% of the time. He was brutal at the plate, squandering away so many opportunities for the Yankees. What a disaster of a trade.

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It’s hard to place blame on the two rookies with Oswaldo Cabrera and Oswald Peraza. The pair combined for just two hits in over 30 plate appearances, but both played stellar defense when their names were called. Both should’ve been given the opportunity in this starting lineup earlier in the year.

The Houston Astros watched star shortstop Carlos Correa sign a mega-deal with the Minnesota Twins and had confidence in their rookie shortstop Jeremy Pena to take over the reins. Pena just won the ALCS MVP and was superb for the team and has been all season. The Yankees opted for the opposite, panicking at the last moment to call up both Cabrera and Peraza, giving them little to no opportunities. Maybe the Yankees should’ve taken a page out of the Astros book.

Aaron Boone was completely outmanaged by Houston manager Dusty Baker. Poor decisions with the bullpen, inconsistent lineup structure, and blaming the lack of a roof towards a loss really summarizes it up well. It was embarrassing from a manager that continues to make excuse after excuse for this ballclub.

The Houston Astros are a flat-out better baseball team than the New York Yankees, and it isn’t even close. No, they aren’t cheating, they’re just that damn great. Astros starters dealt through the first three games of the ALCS, which allowed the offense to do its job.

In Game 4, when Lance McCullers allowed four runs in five innings, the offense picked him up by putting up a six-spot. This team is generational, and we all need to recognize their greatness, regardless of the cheating scandal. It’s over with.

Much change will come to the Yankees organization in 2023. It’s far too early to speculate how drastic, but it will happen. And for every the fan’s sake, it needs to happen, top-to-bottom. As we close this chapter of the New York Yankees, the story is finally over.

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