Here is a spooky October poem to get into the Halloween spirit with:
Death came knocking with the Boston Red Sox
And the Yankees slammed the door, to everyone’s shocks
Death came knocking with the Cy Young probable
Yankees proved that he was not unstoppable
Then death came knocking with the Tampa Bay Rays
The Yankees live to see a few more days
For now we can breathe, but we musn’t unlearn
That in 48 hours, death will return
So how the heck did the Yankees get here?
Pick Up Pennies
One of the best words of baseball wisdom came to me in high school when the varsity coach told us: “Pick up your pennies. One day you will need a dollar.” This metaphor is simple, little victories add up to big victories. Pennies come in many forms: making the easy play, getting the easy win, getting the easy hit. If the Yankees were able to manifest this metaphor as literal, and literally look back on all the pennies they dropped and stepped over, Scrooge McDuck would salivate at the mouth. This is why I hate the phrase “April doesn’t matter.” It might matter, but you will not know until September. By then, it is too late.
I couldn’t possibly name every single stupid loss. The Yankees now have to play a 1 game wildcard at Fenway because they were ONE win short. This one game could have been made up in any of the 70 losses this season. Every single one of those is a penny, but I would like to mention a few dollar bills that the Yankees left lying around.
Remember when we got swept by the Tigers (one of the worst teams in MLB at the time) immediately after sweeping the first-place White Sox?
The Yankees scored a whopping 7 runs against Shohei Ohtani to start the game. This is unreal. So how do the Yankees wind up blowing a 4 run lead in the 9th inning by giving up a grand slam with a guy on the mound who throws over 100 mph?
This was the final game of the first half, and the Yankees were about to sweep the Astros going into the bottom of the 9th with a 7-2 lead. There is no excuse for this loss.
German was throwing a no-hitter into the 8th inning with a 4 run lead. It is very difficult not to point to this game as the reason that the Yankees have to play at Fenway despite the identical record.
The Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles finished the season tied for the worst record in baseball, and they beat the Yankees more than they beat any other team. The Yankees have 8 losses to the Orioles this year. Boston, Tampa, and Toronto lost to the O’s 12 times combined. Winning any of these games would put the Yankees 1 game over the Sox in the standings to secure home-field advantage. And believe me, there are plenty of inexcusable losses in those 8 games. In fact, the Yankees do not have a great record against the American League East in general.
Gerrit Cole has to be the man we paid him for on Tuesday. If he can be, and the Yankees SOMEHOW squeak by Tampa, they would play either the Astros or White Sox in the Championship Series. The 2021 Yankees are 9-3 against both of those teams combined. Weirdly enough, the road to the World Series gets easier if we can just get past the Divisional round.
How will the Yankees respond when death comes knocking again?
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