It’s a scene out of every bad Hanna-Barbera cartoon. Our hero is lost in the desert with seemingly no escape, on the brink of dying of thirst. Then, off in the distance, hope slowly comes into focus. An oasis is there, just below the horizon. If our hero can just reach the isolated grove of life, all may not be lost.
Once the hero finally reaches the oasis, a bubbling brook is found. Water. Actual water. Life. The hero drinks. And then the hero realizes that this is not water, but sand, and that the oasis is naught but a mirage.
This is the story of the 2016 Yankees. For months they wandered, and even gave up, before hope sprung eternal before their very eyes. The Yankees entered Boston with a small inkling of hope that if the cards fell just right, they could find themselves in a Wild Card game. They now leave town having been swept in four games and with Jacoby Ellsbury and Starlin Castro on the shelf. Despite the best efforts of Gary Sanchez and Masahiro Tanaka, the season is all but dead.
It has been for some time now. The Yankees had too many teams to leapfrog to make their crazy dream a reality, and too tough a schedule to go along with their patchwork roster. Even with all the shocking moments provided by Sanchez, it was too tall a mountain to climb.
Sunday night may have been the killing blow. The Yankees are not numerically eliminated just yet, but they are for all intents and purposes dead, laid to rest by two massive Hanley Ramirez home runs over the Green Monster. New York led 4-0 at one point, and lost 5-4. It was the latest in a series of large leads that were blown in this series.
And so ended the Yankees’ playoffs hopes, torn asunder. They had been as good as dead for months. They only now just realized it.
The Play: Hanley ends the shutout (.225 WPA)
This was the first of two massive shots off the bat of Hanley. The Yankees still had the lead, but the game was over at that moment.
Yankees: Gary Sanchez (3-5, HR)
Red Sox: Hanley Ramirez (3-4, 2 HR), Mookie Betts (1-4, 2 incredible catches)
- Gary Sanchez now has 16 home runs, which, yeah, sure. Why not.
- Blake Parker entered the game when CC Sabathia was finally pulled (more on that later). He struck out David Ortiz on three pitches, and then stranded the runners he inherited. This guy isn’t bad.
- Sabathia pitched well until he didn’t. His throwing error may have cost the Yankees the game (although a first baseman that isn’t Billy Butler maybe salvages the play), and was left in for far too long. Girardi left him out there to face Jackie Bradley because of the lefty-lefty matchup, and it cost New York the lead.
- The Yankees finally beat up on Drew Pomeranz after he owned them in his previous two starts against them this year.
- In true Sunday Night Baseball tradition, the game took freaking forever.
“The meaning of life is that it stops.” – Franz Kafka
The Highlight: Gary is scary
He’s not fair.
The Yankees travel south to Tampa, which has never been a source of trouble before. It’ll be Michael Pineda in the first game against the Rays. Drew Smyly will oppose him.
Photo: Bob DeChiara / USA Today Sports