What did you expect, Yankees fans? A team is not supposed to trade its two or three best players, promote a bunch of rookies with no Major League experience, and then steamroll its way to the playoffs. It’s called “selling” because in the end you have less, not more. But we’ll forgive you for believing in the surge powered by a no-name bullpen and the unstoppable Gary Sanchez. Selling may mean getting younger and more exciting, but the dark side involves losing, often in bunches.
New York had AL East’s best record (24-13) between August 1 and September 13, setting up the club for an improbable shot at the division title. The Yankees entered that fateful week just four games out of first place with the Dodgers and Red Sox ahead. The way Sanchez was hitting, the bullpen throwing, and Masahiro Tanaka making his Cy Young case, they looked the part of contenders.
But reality set in, beginning with several meltdowns out of a bullpen vacated by Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller. A Carlos Beltran RBI or two would have done wonders. You might question manager Joe Girardi’s moves against LA and Boston, but he felt his best shot was using an army of relievers in lieu of reliable starters. Six losses in seven games later, the club became a fringe wild-card contender. And the body count on the disabled list made even that prospect daunting.
In sum, the Yankees are short on reinforcements in this war of attrition. New York may still have an outside shot at the wild card, but the remaining players must overachieve to get there.