The Yankees played a series against a team from somewhere other than Oakland or Kansas City, so they lost another series.
1. Seven weeks from today it will all be over. The pain that is the 2023 Yankees season will have ended.
Seven weeks from today will be the the off-day between the end of the regular season the start of the postseason. For the Yankees, it will be the first day of the offseason.
2. In a format in which 40 percent of the league reaches the playoffs, the Yankees will be part of the other 60 percent. Nearly $300 million of payroll spent on the highest-paid team in the American League won’t get them even one extra inning past Game 162. The combination of a poorly constructed roster, in-over-his-head manager, arrogant front office and bewildered ownership proved to be too much for the team to reach the expanded postseason.
3. The next point of humiliation will be finishing in last place, and coinciding with that will be the end of the consecutive-season winning streak dating back to 1993. If you’re a Yankees fan, at this point, your main rooting interest should be for that last place finish and for that winning season streak to end. Only then can real, meaningful change begin to take place within the organization that is the only one of the five teams in the AL East headed in a dark direction.
4. The Yankees are now 20-25 since Hal Steinbrenner publicly said he was confused why Yankees fans are upset this season. They are 8-1 against the A’s and Royals and 52-57 against all other teams. They haven’t won a series against any team other than the A’s or Royals since June 23-25. They are 104-106 since July 2 of last year. They aren’t even an average team over a now-210-game sample size. They are a below-average team, and unless they completely bottom out (which they are on track to do), they would be not only comfortable, but confident in running it back with the same roster, dugout and front office in 2024 as they did in 2023 and 2022 and 2021 and 2020.
Sunday’s loss wasn’t just agonizing and excruciating, it was disturbing. For the Yankees to hold a five-run lead with five outs to go over an offense even weaker than their own with no threat of the long ball hurting them was completely inexcusable. Sunday was it for me. It was the official end to the Yankees’ season.
5. It would be in Yankees fans’ best interest for the team they root for to get humiliated between now and Sunday. Root for them to get their asses kicked in Atlanta over the next three nights (which shouldn’t be hard) and then have the Red Sox come into their building and embarrass them over the weekend (which happens so often it should be expected). The faster the Yankees’ 6.1 percent chance of reaching the playoffs gets to 0, the better off Yankees fans will be. Though, it might as well be 0 now. The Yankees are five games back of the third and final wild-card spot. They have to jump the Red Sox then the Mariners and then finally overtake the Blue Jays to claim that spot.
6. “We’ve gotta move on,” Aaron Boone said after the horrific loss. “We have to.”
Boone talked about how he wasn’t going to load the bases in the ninth because he didn’t want to bring the “walk into play” while disregarding the fact it would bring a forceout at any base into play. But it didn’t matter because Tommy Kahnle had another outing in which he only threw changeups, negating the entire idea of a “changeup,” and couldn’t find the strike zone let alone get a ground ball.
7. As for Clay Holmes, I will never forgive him or trust him following Sunday’s outing. Not because it ruined the Yankees’ season since it was already ruined, but because no real closer should be capable of that kind of outing. Five runs allowed while getting one out? Not even Albert Abreu nor Nick Ramirez would have allowed that kind of damage in the ninth. They might have given up a pair of runs, but they would have held the lead. Holmes has had many games like Sunday’s. He can’t be trusted. Ever. Someone who just grips the baseball with a sinker grip and then throws the ball as hard as they can without knowing where it’s going shouldn’t be “closing” games for a major-league team.
8. The idea there are 44 games left in this miserable season is almost unbelievable. Many of them will be played without any meaning, and you could argue those games have already started taking place. But once the math says they truly have no meaning, maybe then Yankees fans will be able to watch players who may have a future with the team play, like we saw seven years ago.
9. Seven years ago, the Yankees had a plan: trade all possible assets at the deadline for future pieces and give playing time to top prospects. This year, they have no plan. They stood pat at the trade deadline. They have have let top prospects rake in the minors rather than get their feet wet in the majors. They continue to let owed money dictate their decision making instead of actual production. They continue to operate like the joke they have become in recent years, rather than the winningest franchise in major sports history, which they still like to sell their product as.
10. “We don’t have a lot of time,” Boone admitted after the season-ending defeat. It was the first time he ever hinted at the idea he does understand how the calendar and Major League Baseball schedule work and that there is a finite end date to the season, and the Yankees don’t just get to keep playing baseball until they hold a playoff berth.
“It’s early” turned into “We’ll get it rolling” and that turned into “It’s all in front of us” and now we’re at “We don’t have a lot of time.” You know what’s next. It’s the letter next to the Yankees’ name in the standings denoting they have been eliminated from the postseason. The sooner it gets here the better.
My book The Next Yankees Era: My Transition from the Core Four to the Baby Bombers
is available as an ebook!