October 6, 2021

Schandenfreude 322 (A Continuing Series)

Dan Martin, Post:

The ace stunk, the offense no-showed and the decision-making was nearly as bad.

Now the Yankees are going home after a 6-2 loss, manhandled by the Red Sox on Tuesday in the AL wild-card game at Fenway Park.

The Yankees' season . . . ended with a thud thanks to a career-worst postseason performance by Gerrit Cole and a lineup that didn't give them much of a chance. . . .

[T]he Yankees were outclassed Tuesday and it left them staring at another long offseason, their 12th straight without a World Series appearance.

And their two biggest current rivals, Boston and Tampa Bay, face off in the ALDS.

Cole had never pitched fewer than five innings in 13 previous postseason starts — and his two-plus innings matched the shortest outing of his career.

After saying the left hamstring tightness that bothered him in September wasn't going to be an issue, Cole quickly put the Yankees in a hole.

Cole retired the first two batters in the bottom of the inning before walking Rafael Devers after getting ahead 1-2.

It proved costly as Xander Bogaerts came up and blasted a two-run shot to center, just after the sellout crowd began chanting "Ger-rit." . . .

Kyle Schwarber led off the bottom of the third with a mammoth homer to right to give Boston a 3-0 lead and get the Yankees bullpen stirring. Enrique Hernandez reached on an infield hit and Cole walked Devers to end his horrific 50-pitch outing, in which he gave up three runs — and two homers — in two-plus innings. . . .

With two outs in the top of the first, Giancarlo Stanton sent a shot off the Green Monster in left, but stared at it from home plate — apparently thinking it was gone — and was held to a single. . . .

Stanton . . . belted another shot off the Monster [in the sixth], and third-base coach Phil Nevin made a bad send — likely influenced by a lack of faith in Gallo on deck — and Judge was thrown out easily after a throw from Hernandez in center and a strong relay home from Bogaerts. . . .

Severino faltered in the sixth with a walk to Bogaerts and an RBI double by Verdugo to put the Red Sox back up by three runs.

Matthew Roberson, Daily News:

Nothing went right for the Yankees in their 6-2 defeat at the hands of the Boston Red Sox in Tuesday's American League Wild Card game.

The pitcher who was brought in specifically to win these types of games fell flat on his face, putting the hitters behind the eight ball, and they couldn't muster enough offense to get out from their unfortunate position. On top of the fact that the loss came to the hated Red Sox, in front of a Boston crowd that delighted in their downfall, the Yankees saw what happened when everything that can go wrong does. . . .

The Yankees' only base runner from the second to fifth inning was basically by accident, as Gio Urshela's swinging bunt up the third base line became a hit.

Their best chance was in the sixth inning, but it crashed and burned where so many Yankee rallies this season have: on the bases. . . .

Aaron Judge legged out an infield single to bring the tying run to the plate. Stanton once again put a charge in the ball . . . Judge motored around third at the eager instruction of third base coach Phil Nevin, but the Red Sox's perfect relay to the plate beat him there. . . .

It was a momentous play where basic, fundamental baseball beat out the Yankees' aggressive, borderline foolish base running.

During the regular season, the Yankees made 50 outs on the bases, eighth-most in the league. However, their 22 outs at the plate were tied for the league lead, and Nevin didn't seem to learn from his mistakes in time for the playoffs. The Yankees only generated one more hit [in the game] . . .

A team that couldn't score on Ryan Brasier, Tanner Houck and Hansel Robles likely wouldn't have done much against the Rays, White Sox, or Astros' pitching anyway, but now the Yankees won't even get a chance to find out.


Kristie Ackert, Daily News:

It was his biggest Yankee moment yet and Gerrit Cole came up small. The ace couldn't get an out in the third inning Tuesday night and the Yankees' season seemed to follow him as the right-hander walked off the field for the last time of the year to the jeers of Red Sox fans at Fenway Park.

Cole gave up two home runs in two innings as the Red Sox jumped on the Yankees for a 6-2 win . . .

The Red Sox advance to face the Rays in the AL Division Series beginning Thursday night. The Yankees are left to wonder what went wrong with their ace and their season.

It was the shortest outing of Cole's career. He gave up a two-run shot to Xander Bogaerts in the first and a solo shot to Kyle Schwarber in the third. They were the sixth and seventh home runs Cole gave up to the Red Sox in 18 innings pitched at Fenway this season.

That was absolutely not what the Yankees were expecting when they signed Cole to a record-setting (at the time) $324 million, nine-year contract in December 2019. . . .

"We need to win some world championships and I believe we're going to do that sooner rather than later," Yankees managing partner Hal Steinbrenner said the day the Yankees introduced Cole . . .

Well, there are seven years left . . .

It took just seven pitches before Cole found himself in trouble. Rafael Devers battled him to a full count and drew the walk. . . . Cole missed on a changeup that was supposed to be down to Bogaerts and the Red Sox shortstop jumped it for a 427-foot, two-run homer to center field. Schwarber, who had burned Cole for a homer in the 2015 Wild Card game, crushed a chest-high 98-mile an hour fastball to right field. . . .

The Yankees bats couldn't help him or themselves. . . .

The Yankees blew their first chance against the Red Sox shaky bullpen when third base coach Phil Nevin sent Judge from first on Giancarlo Stanton's hard-hit single off the center field wall. The Yankees right-fielder was easily tagged out by former Met Kevin Plawecki, killing a potential rally. . . .

The Yankees . . . only clinched a Wild Card spot on the final day of the season. In the tough American League East, they managed a winning record against just the Baltimore Orioles.

Cole was supposed to be the final piece in rebuilding a dynasty in the Bronx. Instead, the Bombers go into this winter wondering how they can reconfigure to compete in the division, let alone for another World Series.

Greg Joyce, Post:

In Gerrit Cole's biggest moment yet as a Yankee, he didn't make it out of the third inning.

The $324 million right-hander got shelled for two home runs and walked two batters in two-plus innings on Tuesday night against the Red Sox in the American League wild-card game at Fenway Park.

By the time Cole walked the second batter on his 50th pitch of the night, putting runners on first and second with no outs in the third inning with the Yankees already trailing 3-0, manager Aaron Boone decided he had seen enough. He made the long walk to the mound and took the ball from Cole — seemingly stunning the crowd, which responded with cheers. . . .

Pitching to the soundtrack of "Gerr-it" chants from the Boston crowd, Cole issued a two-out walk in the first inning and it came back to hurt him when Xander Bogaerts crushed changeup down the middle for a two-run home run to center field.

Cole . . . gave up a 435-foot home run to Kyle Schwarber on a 97 mph fastball above the zone to lead off the third inning. Kiké Hernandez then singled on a swinging bunt before Rafael Devers drew his second walk of the night, sending Cole to an early exit.

It marked the latest clunker for Cole, who pitched to a 5.13 ERA in September. 



Matthew Roberson, Daily News:

You don't pay a pitcher $324 million for two innings in a playoff game.

That's exactly what the Yankees got from Gerrit Cole in Tuesday's American League Wild Card game, though. The ace pitcher, whom the Yankees backed up the Brinks truck for prior to the 2020 season, recorded only six outs . . .

This was by far the shortest outing of Cole's 14 postseason starts. Before Tuesday night's debacle, he had thrown at least five innings each time he took the ball in the playoffs. His shortest start of this regular season had been 3.1 innings when he only made it through 19 Mets hitters. Tuesday in Boston only brought him 12. . . .

In his press conference a day before the game, Cole told the media at Fenway Park that "I'm just going to have to be on top of my game. Going to have to locate pitches in big spots."

That did not come to fruition for Cole and the Yankees, who watched him slink off the mound with no outs in the bottom of the third inning . . . a walking example of a pitcher who was not on top of their game.

Greg Joyce, Post:

An aggressive send by third-base coach Phil Nevin helped send the Yankees into the offseason.

Before they ultimately fell to the Red Sox 6-2 . . . the Yankees had the makings of a comeback in the top of the sixth inning. Instead, Aaron Judge got thrown out at home to put a dagger in the rally.

They had just cut the deficit to 3-1, forced Nathan Eovaldi out of the game and had Judge on first with one out and the heart of their order coming up. Facing Ryan Brasier, Giancarlo Stanton smoked a rocket high off the Green Monster in left-center field, and Judge took off. . . .

[C]enter fielder Enrique Hernandez [began] the relay that would nab Judge at home. Hernandez threw a one-hopper to cutoff man Xander Bogaerts, who turned and fired a strike to catcher Kevin Plawecki [who] had ample time to receive the relay and slap the tag on Judge for the second out of the inning. . . .

The decision to send Judge not only backfired, but sent a charge through the crowd at Fenway. . . .

The Red Sox added an insurance run in the bottom of the inning to push their lead to 4-1. The top of the sixth proved to be the Yankees' best and last shot at a rally as 10 of the final 11 batters were retired in order.



Mike Vaccaro, Post:

Remember the way history always seemed determined to trample the Red Sox, torture their fans, tease every acre of New England? . . .

Well the ghosts have vanished. All that awful history has evaporated. It is 18 years since the Yankees have beaten the Red Sox in October. Since 2004 it's Boston 3, Yankees 0. . . .

The Sox are the Yanks' daddy. . . .

The Yankees didn't just run into a brick wall Tuesday, it was one of the 109-year-old walls at Fenway Park. . . . [T]he Red Sox have won eight of their last nine playoff games against the Yankees.

There's a lot of awful stuff to unpack in the wake of this dyspeptic game; that might be the worst. Generations of Yankees fans grew up believing the rule of law that the Yankees would always, somehow, some way, figure out a way to ruin the Red Sox. That's a world that belongs in an archive now . . .

"Guys are crushed," Boone . . . said, maybe half an hour after the Yankees were finally taken out of their misery . . .

There are so many issues with the Yankees, problems both short and long term they must deal with, but this might be the most jarring of all: unless there are serious changes to the team's fundamental DNA, they are probably the fourth-best team in their own division right now. . . .

[I]f the season had lasted an extra week it's entirely possible [the Blue Jays] might've nosed ahead of the Yankees for the second wild card. But perhaps most troubling, the Sox have re-established prominence in this rivalry. . . .

This time they merely schooled the Yankees across nine innings of a win-or-else obstacle course. . . .

Tuesday's final chapter of a generally underwhelming season was in many ways a perfect summation of the six months that came before. The Yankees weren't just beaten, they didn't just offer little resistance, they turned the night into a referendum on their very likeability. . . .

Giancarlo Stanton had three hits — but on two of them, rockets off the Green Monster, he admired his blasts, assuming they were out before they slammed into the wall. He settled for a single the first time. He only wound up on second the next time thanks to an 8-6-2 relay that cut down Aaron Judge at the plate and allowed him to advance. . . .

The 2021 Yankees challenged you to love them. And too often failed. And finished up by lying down, once more, in infuriating fashion, to the Red Sox. The ghosts are dead. Winter beckons. . . .


Greg Joyce, Post;

Nathan Eovaldi did what Gerrit Cole could not and pitched his team into the American League Division Series.

In a battle of hard-throwing right-handers, it was the Red Sox's Eovaldi who lived up to the moment on the way to a 6-2 win over Cole and the Yankees . . .

Eovaldi gave up just one run and four hits over 5¹/₃ innings while striking out eight and walking none. He cruised through five dominant, shutout innings before getting an early hook in the sixth . . .

Ken Davidoff, Post:

Well, that's gonna leave a mark.

What an absolutely brutal way for Gerrit Cole to end his season. The Yankees' season.

And now among the many clouds that will hover over [the Yankees] . . . you can add this one: Can Cole still be counted on to justify his huge contract . . . ?

The 2021 Yankees' roller-coaster ride ended with a crash Tuesday night, the team falling meekly to the Red Sox . . . as Cole picked up only six outs while facing 12 batters, a sorry performance in such a big game set to the tune of Red Sox fans taunting, "Gerr-it!" as he gave up three runs on four hits, including a pair of homers, and two walks.

For the Bosox to prevail despite treating this year as a de facto rebuild . . . for the Yankees to not earn themselves a single postseason home game … it constitutes many mouthfuls of bitterness for the . . . demanding fan base, now having clocked 12 seasons without a World Series visit, to swallow. . . .

It was Boone's handpicked third-base coach Phil Nevin who goofed the most with his sixth-inning send of Aaron Judge on Giancarlo Stanton's one-out blast off the Green Monster. The Red Sox easily nailed Judge at home, halting the visitors' momentum . . . and that proved to be that.

Which brings us back to Cole, long gone by the time all this business transpired . . . with an 8.24 ERA over only 19²/₃ innings in his last four starts. . . .

The Yankees face many, many questions about where to go from here . . .

[T]here's no ignoring that [Cole] posted a 2.68 ERA before the All-Star break and a 4.41 after it, including this stinker. . . .

In February 2020, as Cole prepared for his first Yankees spring training, Hal Steinbrenner told The Post, "He's young. He's healthy. Nine years, I expect we're going to win some championships."

Two years down and no championships, this season ending sooner than last, and this time Cole must take a healthy share of blame.


Dept. of LOL
Joseph Staszewski, Post:

John Sterling — like Giancarlo Stanton — thought the slugger's blast had left Fenway Park.

It didn't.

During the first inning . . . Stanton drilled a Nathan Eovoldi pitch toward the Green Monster. As the ball traveled high into the Boston sky, Stanton stood at home plate while Sterling, the Yankees' longtime radio voice, went into one of his signature home run calls.

"Drilled, there it goes. Deep left. It is high. It is far. It is gone!" Sterling said on the WFAN radio broadcast. "Out of the ballpark! A Stanton-ian home run."

In reality, the ball made it only three quarters of the way up the Monster [JoS Note: More like halfway] . . . and caromed directly down in front of Boston left fielder Alex Verdugo.

As the ball was relayed into the infield with Stanton standing on first base for a long single, the 83-year-old Sterling — who was in attendance at Fenway after having broadcast most road games from Yankee Stadium due to the pandemic — was still unsure what happened.

"Now what did I do wrong?" he asked. "What did I see wrong? He's at first base."

Sterling . . . has a history of botched calls in recent years.

But he wasn't the only announcer who believed Stanton added another home run in Boston after a torrid series there late last month.

ESPN's Matt Vasgersian also got excited as the ball left Stanton's bat, saying, "Oh he got another one. He got another one!"

Vasgersian did quickly correct himself as the ball hit the wall.

"No. It's off the Monster," he said. "And Stanton, who put it into the home run trot thinking the same thing I was is satisfied with a single."


Ian O'Connor, Post:
[T]he Red Sox owned all the meaningful moments in their 6-2 victory, starting with a shocking early knockout of Yankees ace Gerrit Cole, who wasn't worth the paper his $324 million contract was printed on . . . Boone made a mistake batting Joey Gallo fourth, and perhaps his mistake inspired third-base coach Phil Nevin to make the disastrous decision to send Aaron Judge home in the sixth. . . .

But when [Boone] showed no hesitation in pulling Cole with two on in the third inning, no fear of embarrassing his best pitcher, Boone also gave his team its best chance to stay in the game. . . .

The Yankees should bring him back for the same reason they hired him — his temperament. . . .

Boone does not deserve to be let go. Though he hasn't delivered any trips to the World Series, and though three wild-card berths and one division title don't rise to the Yankees’ standards, his pros still outweigh his cons. . . .

[F]rom rooftops all across the city, fans will call for Boone’s head. Steinbrenner should not give it to them. . . .

Despite what went down at Fenway, he has earned another shot.

Monday's Papers

Mike Vaccaro, Post:

It has been 12 years since the Yankees have been to the World Series. The Royals have been there twice since then, the Rangers twice, the Red Sox twice. . . . Even the Mets have been more recently.

Maybe that oughtn't be a capital crime. But it is the Yankees who demand they be tried on the order of championships won and worlds conquered. . . .

And using those standards, this isn't enough. . . .

The Yankees, put simply, must win Tuesday night . . . or else all the grumbling, all the griping, all the grousing . . . will feel justified. This was not a team assembled to tiptoe through the Fenway Park gauntlet in one-and-done hell. . . .

A loss Tuesday night? It means we can finally label this season what so many jaded Yankees fans have been labeling it since the middle of the summer, using a variety of adjectives that all lead to the same conclusion: disappointing, discouraging, dissatisfying, disillusioning, disenchanting. And the hammer, which breaks away from the alliterative pattern:

Failure. . . .

The Yankees sign up for more than this. They do not exist to take their best shot, to roll the dice, to hope for the best. The standards are different. The aspirations are higher. The expectation is far greater. Survive this gauntlet Tuesday, these questions go away for a while.

Survive. Advance. Or else.

Ian O'Connor, Post:

He was drafted by the world's most famous ballclub in 2013, then ultimately charged to add to Yankee mythology.

He is a mountain of a man at 6-foot-7 and 282 pounds . . . He is a power hitter for a power franchise forever defined by the long ball . . . he looks like the perfect pinstriped weapon.

But . . . [Aaron] Judge has a bit of a problem. He has yet to lead his team to the World Series, never mind a World Series title . . . If he doesn't win one as the chiseled face of his Yankee generation, Judge will be judged a certain way by people who chronicle such things. . . .

"[E]very year it hurts when we lose. Those cuts are deep, but . . . it's gonna make it sweeter in the end." . . .

The right fielder is the most impressive physical specimen and athlete the Yankees have ever dressed. . . .

[On Sunday] Judge said of the anything-goes tournament, "All you've got to do is just get in."

You've got to do more than that in The Bronx.

Kristie Ackert, Daily News:

This is the moment when Gerrit Cole can earn more than that record-setting paycheck. . . . It's his chance to put himself in the long and storied history of the franchise — and he can do it against the Red Sox, their longest and most hated rivals in Fenway. . . .

Cole . . . became the poster boy for pitchers using illegal sticky stuff on the balls in June when MLB decided to enforce its own rules more stringently. He . . . missed time when he contracted COVID-19. . . . Cole is coming into this start with a 6.35 ERA over his last four. . . .

Cole's personal catcher Kyle Higashioka [said] "[H]e's a guy that rises to the occasion."

That is what was expected when the Yankees gave him a nine-year $324 million deal before last season. It will be the only hope the Bombers have to avoid another disappointing season to add to the last 11. . . .

The Red Sox have hit Cole hard in four starts this season. They have hammered him for five home runs — second only to the Blue Jays this season — and have a .279/.340/.512 with a .852 OPS against him in 2021. . . .

[Cole] says that the tightness in his left hamstring that forced him out of his Sept. 7 start in the fourth inning is gone, [but] talent evaluators watching the last four starts have wondered if it is still bothering him.

Tuesday night is forecasted to be a high of 59 degrees and wet, and those are not ideal conditions for not either issue. The cold can tighten muscles and it certainly makes a baseball harder to grip.

Kristie Ackert, Daily News:

The smile has haunted Yankees fans for two years. After giving up the series-winning home run to Jose Altuve in Game 6 of the 2019 American League Championship Series, the TV cameras zoomed in on Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman who had a little smile on his face.

The fireballer said it was a little bit of shock showing on his face. Unfortunately for the All-Star closer and the Yankees, it's no longer shocking when Chapman gives up a big homer. The last two Yankees' seasons have ended with the closer giving up a game-winning homer, and this year he's given up more (9) than he has ever in his 12-year major league career. . . .

Matthew Roberson Daily News:

For really the entire 21st century, the Red Sox have [been] the historic AL East team that annoyingly plays deep into October every year. Since the Yankees lost to Arizona in 2001, the Red Sox have double the World Series appearances (four to the Bombers' two) and more importantly, have won all four of those.

3 comments:

wallythe24 said...

Words fail me to describe what a special night that was.
I don't recall ever spending a whole game standing up in my front room watching.

Regards

Warren

RA said...

The one downside of the Sox so brutally crushing the Yankees' hopes and dreams for the year?
We won't have any more installments of this series!
Love reading this. And I'm fine with waiting until next spring to see the Sox do it all over again.

allan said...

Not so fast, RA!