NEW YORK — For the third time in the last six years, the Yankees were eliminated by the Astros in the American League Championship Series, this time with a four-game sweep. And for the fourth time in the last eight years, New York was eliminated in the playoffs by Houston.
After winning 99 games in the regular season and conquering the American League East — as well as eliminating the Guardians in the Division Series — the New Yorkers were stopped in their tracks by an Astros who are now going to their second consecutive World Series. and his fourth since 2017.
“It’s a horrible day, a horrible ending,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone, who has lost a Wild Card Game, two Division Series and two Championship Series in New York in his five seasons with the club. “Hurts. It’s cruel.”
Another painful element of this Yankees loss is the uncertainty with Aaron Judge, the superstar who set an American League record with 62 home runs in the regular season. After turning down a $213.5 million offer before the season began, Judge had the best year of his life and is now a free agent, hoping to sign a much more lucrative contract.
“It was an amazing season and someone I’ve bonded with quite a bit,” Boone said of Judge. “(He is someone that) I admire and respect, and I hope to see him in the striped uniform for a long time. I don’t even want to think about the alternative right now.”
Judge was the Yankees’ mainstay in the regular season, but in the playoffs, he hit .139 with two home runs, both against the Guardians in the first round. Against the Astros in the four ALCS games, he was 1-for-16 with no extra-base hits.
“That’s baseball. It happens all the time,” she expressed. “The greatest of the greats go through trouble and a lot of times, it’s just the time (of the year). I think his timing was not quite right.
Judge was not the only one. After scoring just four runs — two unearned — against Astros pitching in the first three games of the series, the Yankees put five on the board (one dirty) Sunday in Game 4. But the reality is that Aside from Harrison Bader, who hit five homers in the postseason — including two in the ALCS — the Yankees’ names didn’t show their faces.
Between Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres and Josh Donaldson, the Yankees had just two extra-base hits (both doubles by Stanton) and drove in just three runs against the Astros in the second round of the playoffs.
“This is the worst thing you can see,” Boone said. “We were beaten by a better team and that is the reality. Clearly, they are setting the standard to which we aspire.”
This sweep suffered by the Yankees at the hands of the Astros was only their fourth in a best-of-seven series in their history. Since 2010, New York has lost five consecutive Championship Series, a new Major League record. And the Bronx team hasn’t reached a World Series since 2009, its longest World Series drought since 1982-95 (not counting 1994, when the Fall Classic wasn’t played because of a players’ strike).
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“A horrible ending” for the Yankees. Was Judge’s end in the Bronx too?