The previous annotated box score seemed to go over well, so it seemed like it would be fun to revisit another infamously bizarre game in recent Yankees memory. Matt Ferenchick and I often talk about our favorite editions of weirdball in Yankees history, and not long after the aforementioned 2011 finale is discussed, the end of 2013 is brought up. This game did, in fact, end up in a win for the Yanks, but it was even more meaningless than the 2011 loss. This was the end of the Yankees' first season without a playoff berth since 2008 and just their second since 1995, so it was a strange time in Yankeeland.
Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte both already had their emotional final games, Derek Jeter was hurt again after a nightmare season, and Alex Rodriguez was injured and appealing his then 211-game Biogenesis suspension. The Yankees' magic number had already dwindled to zero and one more game between them and the abysmal Astros was all that stood in the way of their (at that point) long-awaited off-season. Unfortunately for all parties involved, Game 162 refused to end.
Maybe it wasn't emphasized quite enough just how dreadful the 2013 Astros were by year's end. No one was under the impression that this was a team that was even remotely decent, but in their first season in the American League, they were 51-96 after play on Friday, September 13th. Although they were still almost certainly going to lose 100 games, they were on a four-game winning streak and might not end up being quite as dreadful as the 107-loss group from 2012.
We underestimated these Astros. They became the first team since the infamous 134-loss and eventually homeless 1899 Cleveland Spiders to lose 15 games in a row to finish the season, which ended with a 51-111 record. Only eight teams in MLB history have ever lost more games than the 2013 Astros. Along the way during that 15-game losing streak, they gave us the most glorious symbol of their ineptitude:
Bless you, Astros.
After the Yankees tied the game in the eighth, the game remained painfully scoreless for five innings until 14th. Every half-inning, people would hope that this would be the one to put 2013 out of its misery. Ten times, the two teams failed.
Let's check in on the the game thread, shal--
Pain—expands the Time—
Ages coil within
The minute Circumference
Of a single Brain
- Emily Dickinson
Oh, nothin', just Eduardo Nunez leading off a game started by David Huff. NORMAL 2013 STUFF, Y'KNOW.
Vernon Wells hit .160/.222/.180 in September, a triple slash that sadly isn't that different from .199/.243/.253. That batting line was all of Vern's production from May 16th onward, and after 10 homers in the season's first month and a half, the only dinger he managed after that was a complete Yankee Stadium special... which didn't come until mid-August.
Vern finished his career 0-for-18, including an 0-for-6 in this delightful romp. Never in this post will the following image be so relevant:
Once upon a time, Travis Hafner was actually exciting on the Yankees! He hit .318/.438/.667 in April with six homers, causing some fans to hope that he could perhaps be the 2013 version of Raul Ibanez. Then, like Wells, he turned into a pumpkin, batting an atrocious .163/.251/.281 the rest of the way while battling an ugly shoulder strain and getting attacked by a pitching machine named "the Humbler." No, really.
Hafner was gone from July 26th onward, save for randomly being activated for the season finale. He went 0-for-4 with a strikeout and got plunked twice to end his 12-year career. Fitting.
"Hey, he was on the 2013 Yankees!" dude Mark Reynolds mercifully broke the extra innings scoreless streak with a booming leadoff homer in the 14th off Lucas Harrell. It was lucky for him, too:
Mark Reynolds hit a HR because he had a flight to catch. It was delayed anyway. But the rest of us thank you deeply Mark.— Sweeny Murti (@YankeesWFAN) September 29, 2013
Reynolds literally left the park, as he departed from the game to go get his plane. We knew ye so well.
Astros release jd martinez. luhnow says he could help someone, says choice shows reflects a "victim of our own success"— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) March 22, 2014
#Tigers J.D. Martinez is batting .323/.368/.597 with 49 R, 25 2B, 3 3B, 23 HR, 69 RBI, & 5 SB in 99 games since May 18, 2014.— Ace of MLB Stats (@AceballStats) September 17, 2014
Brandon Laird appeared in that ridiculous 2011 finale with the Yankees, and by this point, he was on the Astros, allowing him to DH in this insane finale as well. This was his last career game, too. Welp.
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At least in this dumpster fire of a game, fans who actually stuck around witnessed the foreshadowing of what was to come from confusing prospect Dellin Betances in 2014. Betances threw 2 1/3 innings of perfect ball, striking out four along the way. Back then though, he was still a mystery.
That wild pitch by Jorge De Leon happened shortly after he entered in the middle of the 14th inning. Can you really blame him for chucking the ball all over the damn place in such an absurd game?
This game was three hours and 52 minutes, and somehow it felt longer. Maybe because that afternoon, I drove from a wedding in western Pennsylvania all the way home to Baltimore and still had time to watch the 14th inning. That... shouldn't happen.