By Nicole Hansen
On Tuesday, the Yankees and Astros played in the AL Wild Card game to see who would go on to play the Royals in the ALDS. There were a lot of things working against the Yankees in this game, but it went far worse than us Yankee fans could have expected.
I’m going to break down the five biggest things that went wrong for the Yankees in this game, and what had viewers cringing as they watched this horror of a game unfold.
1. Dallas Keuchel’s pitchingEmbed from Getty Images
Keuchel went into this game on 3 days rest and still proved why he’s one of the best pitchers in the American League. He has it all: 2.48 ERA, 216 strikeouts, 1.02 WHIP. The Yankees already knew this game was going to be a challenge, but Keuchel showed just how dominant he is. With 7 strikeouts and only 4 base runners through 6 innings, Keuchel can be credited with a lot of the Astros’ success in this game.
2. Yankees’ OffenseEmbed from Getty Images
The Yankees have been having offense issues all season and this game was no exception. With power hitters like Alex Rodriguez and Brian McCann, and high average hitters like John Ryan Murphy and Carlos Beltran, there has been productivity throughout the season on paper, but many times not enough to get the job done. The Yankees had 3 hits all game and never seemed to have any momentum to score. With results like that, all the power hitters in the world couldn’t win a game.
3. Masahiro Tanaka’s Home Run Tendencies
Tanaka is known for giving up home runs; he’s not the kind of pitcher to give up a string of base hits that lead to runs. Out of 25 starts this season, including this one, there were only 8 games that he didn’t give up at least one home run. Just take a look at September 18 against the Mets (2 earned runs, 2 homers), or September 8 against Baltimore (1 earned run, 1 homer), or August 9 against Toronto (2 earned runs, 2 homers). He doesn’t tend to give up a lot of runs, but they are very often home runs when he does. So it was disappointing for Yankee fans to watch him pitch an overall good game, but just give up a few too many home runs on some out-of-control pitches.
4. Dellin Bentances’ Slip UpEmbed from Getty Images
Dellin Betances had a dominant year: 1.50 ERA, 131 strikeouts, 1.01 WHIP. The tail end of the season proved a little tougher for Betances than the rest of the season, possibly due to how many innings he’d been pitching, and this trend continued into the Wild Card game. Betances has been the Yankees’ most reliable bullpen guy, but he gave up a run on a hit to Jose Altuve, something uncharacteristic of him. Even though there weren’t any signs of a comeback from the Yankees, they were hoping he wouldn’t give up any more runs and every little bit counts.
5. Astros’ Bullpen
Many Yankee fans probably breathed a sigh of relief when Keuchel left the game in the 6th inning, hoping to finally get the bats started and get some runs. Unfortunately for them, the Astros’ bullpen did just as well as Keuchel did. Tony Sipp, Will Harris and Luke Gregerson all made appearances for Houston and they shut the Yankees down, allowing only one base runner total on a walk. Houston’s bullpen definitely sealed the deal and clinched the game for the Astros.
*All stats courtesy of mlb.com