Start spreading the news. The New York Yankees are cooked.
While that statement may be true after the Houston Astros took a commanding 3-0 lead with Saturday’s win in the Bronx, there’s something that New York Yankees fans will likely never admit as they look back at the season that was through their pinstripe-shaded sunglasses.
The Yankees have actually been cursed for this October fate since the beginning of the campaign.
Flash back to a series in late April when the Baltimore Orioles visited Yankee Stadium. On a chilly Tuesday night in the series opener, the Yankees would post a 12-8 win over the Orioles. New York hit five home runs that night, including a solo shot from Joey Gallo, which momentarily turned the boos from Yankees fans raining down upon him and his strikeout-riddled .154 batting average into cheers.
New York Yankees offense was flawed all season
In the clubhouse that night, Anthony Rizzo (who hit three home runs in the game) and Gallo were the wanted men by those of us covering the game. I listened in as they discussed how the homers drove the New York offense that night.
One quote in particular from Gallo stood out that night to me, and I used it in my article the next day because it was obvious even then that, when the Yankees hit homers, things were great. When they didn’t, well, there were problems.
“Sometimes, you kind of get a little worried like, ‘Man, why isn’t the ball going out?’ I’ve hit some balls really good this year and they’ve been caught at the wall or the warning track,” Gallo told us that night in the clubhouse.
Gallo may not have survived the trade deadline with the team but, in the end, he was a shining example of New York’s homer-or-nothing mentality that kicked in so often, including throughout the first three games of the ALCS against the Astros.
That April quote from Gallo had a foreshadowing feel to it when Aaron Judge’s long fly ball fell just short of going out in Game 2 of the ALCS at Minute Maid Park. Blame the roof being open. Say the Astros were lucky. Use whatever coping mechanism you need, but the simple truth is that the same “why isn’t the ball going out” mentality from April was there in the Yankee dugout in October as well.
These numbers posted by New York in the ALCS (and the mentality perhaps behind them) simply won’t win in October.
Think back to August when the Yankees went 10-18 that month and alarm bells starting really going off in the Bronx. In those 28 August games, New York hitters combined to slash .221/.297/.354 and hit just 28 home runs, a low point in power for any month this season. Additionally, New York’s strikeout numbers kept climbing throughout the second half of the season, posting 229 in July, 243 in August, and 282 in September/October.
The problems for the Yankees at the plate have been there all season. They just became magnified when the bright lights of October started shining.
Make no mistake about it: New York’s 99 wins and second seed in the AL bracket shows the 2022 Yankees were a talented team. However, in the postseason, it’s been very clear that it was a very flawed team as well.