The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:

Saturday, October 21, 2017 Yanks’ run ends with Game 7 loss to Astros

The deafening roars began on the first pitch thrown by Charlie Morton in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series, and they didn’t stop. Solo homers by Evan Gattis in the fourth inning and Jose Altuve in the fifth rocked Minute Maid Park, and a two-run double by Brian McCann later in the fifth sent the ballpark into a frenzy.

The party was just getting started.

Only four years after losing a club-record 111 games—in their first year in the AL in 2013—the Astros completed a remarkable run to the World Series by beating the Yankees, 4-0, on Saturday night to win the ALCS and send Houston to its second Fall Classic.

The Astros pretty clearly outplayed the Yankees. The Yankees scored only three runs in their four games in Houston. You’re not going to win many games with that kind of offensive output. Morton/McCullers was just too much for the Yankees.

The Yankees pulled out one of their classic “Relievers performing only when the game is out of reach” games, with Tommy Kahnle giving up an awful double to Brian McCann with two outs in the fifth. Since the Yankees scored no runs, the game was already lost as soon as CC gave up a solo home run to Evan Gattis, but it was still brutal to see Kahnle unable to put McCann away with two strikes. Sticking with Kahnle made sense there, he just got beat by a mediocre hitter. Sometimes, good players suck. The Yankees saw that with D-Rob last night.

If the Yankees want to get back here next year, they really have to keep Tanaka, so hopefully that works out.

All in all, this was a productive season, but they need to do even better next year. Hopefully we get to see Gleyber next year!

--Posted at 11:31 pm by Brian Cronin / 64 Comments | - (0)


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In the last 30 years, just two starting pitchers have won the MVP. They’re going to face each other in the World Series. That’s pretty cool.

Not Yankees/Dodgers cool, but still cool.

Yankees Dodgers would’ve been amazing act 12, the greatest show on earth.

Last Yankee Dodger series was 1981 marred by George’s narcissism, reminds me of someone in the news at this time,  from SI “Steinbrenner supposedly called manager Bob Lemon in the dugout during Game 6 to demand he pinch-hit for starter Tommy John in the fourth inning of a 1-1 game despite John’s solid work to that point in the game and scoreless start in Game 2. Lemon complied, and the Yankee bullpen immediately imploded with righty George Frazier suffering his third loss of the Series in a 9-2 final that clinched the championship for Los Angeles. Steinbrenner then issued an apology to the city of New York for his team’s performance, making no mention, of course, of his role in its downfall.”

Steinbrenner also ordered the changing of the CF’ers. And punched out two guys while defending the honor of NYC. Or was that punching a wall that broke his wrist/hand?

And yes, the narcissist, taking it to Europe now, still whining about losing.

Maybe George really did punch-out two guys.

This was a great season.  Looking forward to the offseason.  The only glaring weaknesses they have are at DH (relatively easy to upgrade) and greedy ownership (not possible to upgrade).

I’ve also thought about the feasibility of just giving Andujar a shot to win the DH job in spring training. Instead of spending like 16 million on Jay Bruce, why not bring in a fringe guy for Andujar to compete with in spring training? Worst case if he struggles early they could try different combos of alignments until making a move. Best case is that Andujar rakes in the majors while waiting for a full time defensive gig to open.

They definitely should not sign a DH, other than signing Otani and letting him hit if he can hit.

Where else could they spend to upgrade if not DH?  Even with the luxury tax they’ll still have some money to spend and having Headley as the DH in the most meaningful games of the season is something I would rather not see repeated.

Where else could they spend to upgrade if not DH?  Even with the luxury tax they’ll still have some money to spend and having Headley as the DH in the most meaningful games of the season is something I would rather not see repeated.

They really might not have much room to work with period, honestly.

And if they’re stuck with Ellsbury, I don’t think they’d be too bad off if they just rotated Gardner/Judge/Hicks/Ellsbury between the three outfield spots and the DH spot, depending on if they sign Otani and he can actually hit enough to DH.

I’d also love to see Andujar emerge as the best option at DH. I wouldn’t count on it though when designing the team for next year though.

And I’d much rather see Ellsbury in a traditional 4th OF role. Nothing more nothing less. Giving him DH at bats is wose than giving them to Headley.

I’d be cool with another Chris Carter type experiment next year. Hopefully with better results.

Oh sure, Andujar is fine, too. I would also imagine that they’d have to give Otani a crack at it if they signed him. At least let him prove whether he can hit or not.

As for Headley, he’s presumably going to be the starting third baseman next season. They can’t afford to bring Frazier back.

Until the ink is dry on the contract, I’m not going to consider the notion that Otani could be a Yankee next year. I won’t be able to emotionally handle his press conference in a Dodgers jersey otherwise.

Yeah, they don’t have as much money to spend as I was thinking if they want to get under the cap.  About $40MM if Tanaka opts out ($18MM if he doesn’t) and will need to replace CC and possibly Tanaka.

Until the ink is dry on the contract, I’m not going to consider the notion that Otani could be a Yankee next year. I won’t be able to emotionally handle his press conference in a Dodgers jersey otherwise.

Sure, I’m not saying that they will get him, either, but just that until he DOES sign somewhere else, they shouldn’t sign a full-time DH.

We have a 5 man OF and Austin as well so no need for a DH, even if we manage to trade Ells finally, unless his name is Otani. Then again DH types were going for peanuts last off season, which is how we ended up with 2016’s illustrious NL HR leader, so you never know I guess.

Resigning Frazier makes no sense. He is 31 and surely looking for as big of a payday as he can get for as many years as possible. Plus we already have Headley and as others have said Andujar deserves a shot.

The bullpen is stacked, the OF is overflowing, C, 1B and SS hopefully set for the forseeable future, the bench is fine and if we are going to replace Castro or Headley it should be through the farm.

The only hot stove questions of real interest involve the rotation. Namely does Tanaka opt out, do we end up with Otani and should we bring CC back. Even with his strong postseason I doubt Tanaka opts out with his partially torn ligament while coming off a 1.0 WAR/4.74 ERA season. Otani is a DH as I said so if remaining a two way player is a priority for him, as it seems to be, I think we have a very good chance. If not then see if CC will come back for 1 year at 15 mill or so. If not I’m sure Cashman can find a respectable 4/5 starter who will hopefully be replaced by Adams before long anyway.

For those asking how the team will improve;

Full years from Bird, Gray, Robertson, Kahnle and Frazier(the Tylers as well if you are into that sort of thing.)

Hopefully fewer injuries.

Collectively the young guys should improve with another year under their belts and Headley, Ellsbury and Robertson(possibly CC) are the only notable players on the wrong side of 30.

Otani? Tanaka stays and stops sucking half the time?

Guys like Torres, Adams, Andujar, etc. hopefully force their way onto the team and contribute.

Match their pythag.

Cashman will probably fleece someone for a nice addition to the team as usual.

A side note from the last thread: Saying “only” making it to game 7 of the ALCS in a rebuilding year is harder to take than the worst collapse in postseason history against f**king Boston allowing them to go on to their first championship in almost a century is truly deranged.

Since 1995 came up, I definitely felt good about the team post-1995. The loss in 1995 sucked, but I felt good about the team entering 1996, and this team is a lot younger than the 1996 team.

And the 2004 team was old as fuck. That team was “last gasp” central. A-Rod was the only position player under 30 years old (and he was 28). They only had a single starting pitcher under 32 years old, and they traded him in the offseason for a 41 year old starting pitcher!

You have to feel better about the future of this team than you did following 2004. Come on.

After 2004 the Yankees won two straight division titles. Sign
me up!

The future is indeed looking bright.  The Yankees are pretty good at every position basically.

Just because it’s in my nature, regression can reasonably be expected from SS, 3B, C, LF, RF, and basically all pitching.  Arguably 2B and CF as well.  They could improve and take a step back next year just because last year was close enough to best case scenario.

That sucked but I wasn’t surprised. They were a.500 team on the road, 1-6 in the playoffs.

Hopefully a healthy Bird offsets any regression from Judge. I don’t see why Sonchez can’t replicate his year. I would love to see a better performance from Severino next October.

What also sucks is that Boston is also good and young, and there’s a decent chance the Yankees will have to play the coin flip bowl again. Slightly worse luck and we’re having this conversation a few weeks ago.

It’s hard to do hot stove after such a great season. I really appreciated this team making 2017 so interesting. THUMBSDOWN

No big moves for 2018; still good enough to make the playoffs with some tweaks, at which point it’s a crapshoot. then machado at 3rd in 2019 and we’re good for 3 WS wins.

What a great season. Thanks, Brian, for keeping the site going. Sucks to go out on this note, but the idea of a lineup that goes Judge, Sanchez, Bird will make the next 116 days go quick. Unless we die in a nuclear blast. Bird’s performance in the postseason was very reassuring.

22 I think Didi’s more likely to take another step forward than to regress, Judge should regress but be more consistent, Gardy at his age is due for some regression, Hixie’s still an unknown, Gary should be about the same and Bird will be here for the whole effing year Mo willing. And lastly Gleyber will be ROY.

And to quote Sic #11 FUCK and I feel like shit and await today’s afternoon game so we can knot up this series.

The Wild card format is so effing dumb and nothing will get done until we win 102 and the townies win 101 while Cleveland and the Stros win 90 each and then Selig will do something.

I like the wildcard format compared to the old way. I don’t really like the post season in general though.

If I had my choice of finishing with the best record in baseball or winning the WS after winning 90 games, I’d choose regular season dominance.

The best would be the old way.  No divisions, no playoffs. Best AL teamvs best NL team in WS every year.

I do not think they were outplayed. Three balls traveling ten feet more flips the series.

29 Kind of agree the MLB should do more to honor teams like the 2000 Mariners that were the best team in baseball that year. They were at least co champions. That said 4 playoff teams is plenty, play a more balanced schedule and the best 4 teams get in.  The coin flip bowl is an abomination.

It really was a surprising and enjoyable year. The loss stung because this series was so evenly matched, but hat tip to Houston, who definitely deserves it. I am rooting for them in the Series…it’d be great if the Yanks were the team that gave them the toughest time in the post season.

If there is going to be divisions and a wild card, I like it how it is. It keeps more fans interested longer, and confers a very real advantage to winning the division. Personally, I’d prefer to see the leagues do away with divisions and return to a conference format. Ideally then the top four teams from each league go into the playoffs…although you could keep five and have a play-in. Regardless, I am definitely sick of the lopsided division schedule. I really miss genuine in-season rivalries with franchises like Cleveland or Seattle, and get bored with so many helpings of the Orioles every damn year.

[27] See, I’m concerned about Didi regressing offensively. I feel like we just saw his career year.

Can’t complain about anything in 2017. I wasn’t sure they finished .500 and instead were a game from the World Series. There were so many amazing moments, from Bird’s “Ball Don’t Lie” HR against STL to Gardner’s 3R HR at Wrigley to some of Judge’s near 500 foot bombs.

The future looks bright, but you never know what the future holds. So many teams had bright futures that never ended in championship glory. But the talent here seems too good. The bullpen will stay in tact (Chapman, D-Rob, Kahnle, Green, Warren), the rotation will be good (Severino, Gray, and hopefully Tanaka, CC, Montgomery), and the lineup will be solid.

LA v NY just would have been so cool. Seriously hope to see one of those before I die.

It was mostly a great season. The first and last thirds were terrific, the middle third not so much. The blown saves and 1 run losses sucked, were frustrating and cost us the AL East which to me counts for something. Next year Bird, no Karter, big difference.

Let the vulning begin.

Betting on regression from anyone who just had their best season is always good money. Didi may be great the next few years (one hopes) but he won’t be better than this. I suspect the same for Judge, and wouldn’t be surprised if even Severino and Sanchez never match these numbers again.

Go all in right now.

I’m betting Didi will be at least as good. He’s made steady slow improvement each year and he’s smart and that’s a great atribute for a hitter.

Judge certainly had his best season. Sanchez, too. Seeing it’s the only full season either has ever had.

Neither has set any norm to regress to.

I see easy ways for both to get better. Judge can increase his arsenal of approaches and be a better situational hitter (and not have what was, possibly, an extended injury-related slump). Sanchez can improve in a few specific areas defensively. His offensive level has been pretty consistent since he came up.

I’m not saying other things couldn’t happen, of course. But I’m not sure either has to regress to somebody else’s norm.

Jeter had his best season at 25.! Maybe Didi just had his best too. But even so he’s good.
Judge? Expecting 8 WAR is way too much. So yeah, I’d bet this was his best. But maybe he’s a 6 WAR guy? That’s good stuff.
Sanchez? After 2016 and 2017 I think we know he’s really good.
Bird? Needs to stay healthy; we know he’s good.

The question are hicks and Gleyber. And CFraz..

And of course the pitching. Meaning Tanaka and someone else (Adams? Otani?)

And betances.

Much fewer questions that prior years. And other teams.

[36] Actually, wait until there are good free agents to go all-in. Don’t make the same mistakes the Red Sox made, who went all-in and shortened their window by several years, while also ruining their payroll flexibility during that same window.

Of course Judge is very likely to regress from this season. It was literally historic.

That said, he midsummer swoon means he also left a lot on the table. And of course he’s so young he still has things to learn and develop, not to mention getting a little respect from umps as an established player/star. So…not unthinkable that this is not his apex.

Gardner is the most likely to regress, due to age. Hicks is a complete pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey projection.

Question is whether you believe Headley can stay healthy and not decline further (or even rebound) in the next season. If so, let Todd go his way, and use your farm for insurance. Otherwise, you gotta trade him away for something and grab Frazier or another option.

For Otani, lets say he is a hitting machine. Do you continue letting him pitch ? They didn’t with George Ruth. You could get him and still need a SP. Does Tanaka’s presence help you land Otani ? Hurt ?

Headley, Castro, Ellsbury to Seattle for Cano ?

Jeter had his best season at 25 and is a sample size of one. Maybe Didi just had his best, too. Or maybe he didn’t. If I spent the time, I’d find someone who had his best season at 26. Maybe Didi will have his best season at 26. Or at some other age. What was Barry’s best year? None of this means much of anything.

But the overall point of the post is exactly right - the little we DO have as a baseline for these players looks pretty good.

Lest I be misunderstood, I think Sanchez and Judge are special players and I expect both to be great the next five years.

An unexpectedly delightful season made better by you fine complainers. Thanks all.

I have given this some semi-sober consideration and have concluded to root for the Astros.

Its not like they’re a team of douchers, really at all. Houston could use the win, to reinforce the idea of having a team that matters.

But mostly, if LA wins, there is a better than even chance that Ugly Johnny loses his daughter’s heart to the Dodgers forever. That is too sad to contemplate. So we have to break this little girl’s heart now so she redirects her baseball love back to her birthright team. #toughlove

Rooting for LA only so that the Texas curse - over 100 seasons of baseball without a championship -continues. Sooner or later folks will start talking about it. With the cub and Red Sox curses gone, we need something.

Just don’t like anything about Texas so go Dodgers

Stupid prediction: Bird will have the best slash line of the expanding young offensive core.

I’m surrounded by Dodgers fans who are unreasonably cocky right now. Plus I grew up with my father instilling a healthy disdain for the Dodgers after Fernandomania struck in ‘81. Hated Josh Reddick ever since he was a Jay, and Keuchel’s stupid beard is impossible to root for. This isn’t quite the pray-for-meteor CF that Angels/Giants was, but I won’t be glued to the television with a rooting interest.

Astros +140/Dodgers -160 for the series, with home field in LA. I think Houston takes it. I had them at +450 to win it all before the playoffs started. Good a reason as any for a slight rooting interest.

49 Wouldn’t be surprised, it I could be a nice race among the three of them to follow.  Right now Bird looks like the hitter who has the best chance against good pitchers who are on their game. Didi has improved a little each of the last three years and I could see him continue to improve, while I think Castro’s best days are behind him. Didi is smart, Castro at least at baseball not so much. Didi was pretty raw at the beginning. Healthy Sevvy could be as good as this year and I think Monty might be even better. Hixie and Clint are question marks and age could slow down Gardy. And Gleyber will be ROY, book it.

Mickey Callaway?!

Not a hard prediction - for the best hitter on the team, right?!

This was a season that made me smile. I would have liked a few more games, but I’m excited for the next few years. Maybe they won’t get this far next year, but I fancy their chances for several seasons to come.
I’ve a soft spot for the Dodgers due to really getting into baseball while I lived in SoCal.

Sunday NYT OP ED
Being a person is terrible. And complaining about it is the purest, most soothing form of protest there is. Complaining feels so good. It’s like casting off the oppressive wool coat you’ve been buried under since October on that first truly beautiful warm April day.

Pin, I asked her who she would root for if it were Dodgers-Yanks and she said Dodgers.  I’m okay with it.  I’d rather she grow up with hometown heroes she can go see and the Dodgers are pretty damn good.  I’ll root for them in the series.

My dad thinks you should root for the team that beat you because then you lost to
the best.  I say fuck that, root for them to lose for
having the effrontery to beat you.

[56] When I was around 4-5, someone asked me who my favorite football team was and I said the Jets. My dad jumped in to correct me, and make sure I got it right going forward.

Did me a huge favor (other than this sad-sack year).

My dad and mom were Brooklyn Dodger fans, the first game I ever went to was at Ebbets Field, nevertheless I saw the light.

You have to understand that there are cross-currents here.  Her grandfather is an Angels fan and Trout might be the best player in history.  NEVERTHELESS SHE CANNOT BE AN ANGELS FAN.

Best player in history?
Can he out-pitch Walter Johnson?

[59] Can he out-pitch the Bambino?


In all sincerity, I think Trout (along with many modern players) would be able to outpitch Walter Johnson if he time traveled to the WW1 era.  I’m certain every regular pitcher today would outperform him.

(62) interesting though I disagree. In a vacuum maybe (maybe); but giving the bambino or the big train today’s training and they would be better too. That’s my $0.02

I grew up taught that you never root for Los Angeles teams under any circumstances. The Celtics fans, of all people, showed the way. But there is no way I will ever root for a Texas team. Go Dodgers.

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