Okay, we can get through this together. The 2016 season was not without its moments of heartbreak and disgust, which may be tough to get through, so this list will be kept to five. Maybe through every moment listed below (in chronological order), we can tirelessly remind ourselves of the bright future courtesy of the Baby Bombers.
May 5th: Yanks hit low mark after wasting splendid start from Tanaka
In a game where Joe Girardi was tossed after expressing his displeasure over a missed balk call, the Yankees’ offense seemed to retire into the clubhouse with their skipper. Baltimore Orioles starter Kevin Gausman stymied the Yankees’ offense, surrendering just three hits over eight innings of work. Masahiro Tanaka did his best to keep the Yankees in the game, as he twirled eight innings of shutout ball, striking out seven and walking just one.
It still wasn’t enough, and the game went to extra innings after Dustin Ackley made an incredible leaping catch at the right field wall in the bottom of the ninth, resulting in an inning-ending double play. The Yankees struck out three times in their half of the tenth, summing up their offensive performance.
Andrew Miller came on in the tenth to relieve Johnny Barbato, who had surrendered two hits in the inning and left with runners on the corners. Pedro Alvarez lifted a soft fly to center field off Miller for the incredibly underwhelming walk-off sacrifice fly, winning the game 1-0.
The loss capped off a 2-7 road trip for the Yanks, as they left Baltimore with a dreadful 9-17 record on the season, leaving them in a hole that they could never truly escape.
July 31st: After promising stretch, Yanks swept by lowly Rays
Just to make this clear, this list is in terms of the worst moments of this season specifically. This horrible series in Tampa was likely a catalyst to ignite the much-needed fire sale at the trade deadline, but in terms of 2016, it summed up the season in a nutshell.
After an 11-game stretch that resulted in eight wins, the Yanks headed to Tampa Bay looking to capitalize on a team whose season was already lost. Although they already sold Aroldis Chapman, they were still trying to be playoff contenders, and recent wins against playoff-caliber teams provided at least a slight glimmer of hope.
However, as they had done all year, the Yankees laid an egg against the lesser team after playing strong against solid ones. The Yankees were swept in Tampa Bay, leaving them with a four-game losing streak capped off by a 5-3 loss on the last day of July.
Miller was traded the morning of the 31st, but Carlos Beltran was still around. After the Yankees fell behind 3-0, he got the Bombers back into the game with a two-run shot in the top of the sixth. Michael Pineda quickly spoiled the comeback bid by surrendering two runs in the bottom half of the inning. The Yanks were toast. By the end of the day, Beltran and Ivan Nova were on their way out too, and the firesale was complete.
August 16th: I hate rain delays
Okay, now I’m getting nauseous. This was truly a tale of two games, with the second game within the game being downright sickening.
The Yanks jumped out to a 6-0 lead behind a great outing from Pineda and two home runs off the red-hot bat of Gary Sanchez. The Yankees seemed poised to cruise to an important divisional victory against Toronto.
Then the rain came. (Incidentally, this only barely beat out another awful rain-affected game on June 28th against Texas, when a 6-4 lead in the ninth vanished after a three and a half hour delay.)
After the delay, Pineda was out, and the shaky bridge to Betances was in. Anthony Swarzak and Adam Warren imploded for the Yanks as the Blue Jays teed off, including two home runs from Russell Martin, while Edwin Encarnacion and Troy Tulowitzki each went deep. When the home run barrage was over, the Yankees’ 6-0 lead turned into a 12-6 loss, and a heavy dose of heartache.
September 15th: And you thought that last game was bad
This one was just plain terrible. The Yankees and Red Sox opened up a four-game series at Fenway, and the Yankees opened up a 3-0 lead behind newcomer Billy Butler. The lead was 5-2 in the bottom of the ninth, with Betances on the mound. Oh, and there were two outs.
A David Ortiz single made it 5-3. The next batter was Mookie Betts, who singled to make it 5-4. Betances was falling apart, but who could Girardi really go to at this point? He left Betances in to face Hanley Ramirez, who smashed a walk-off homer to straightaway center, and I don’t want to talk about this game anymore.
September 18th: Sox complete four-game sweep, hammer the nail into Yanks’ coffin
This game capped off one of the ugliest series in recent Yankees memory, and effectively ended the season for the Bombers, who were still clinging to faint playoff hopes. Once again, for the third time in the four-game series, the Yankees jumped out to a lead. Once again, for the third time in the four-game series, the Yankees blew a lead.
CC Sabathia cruised through the first half of the game as the offense built a 4-0 lead. Of course, no lead seemed comfortable for the Yankees at this point, and Ramirez continued to punish Yankees’ pitching with a three-run homer off Sabathia in the bottom of the fifth, cutting the deficit to one.
After a Jackie Bradley Jr. single tied the game in the sixth, Ramirez stepped in one inning later to provide the final insult in the form of a solo shot over the Green Monster to give the Sox the lead.
The final breath of air was taken out of the Yankees’ balloon in the top of the ninth when Brett Gardner led off with a line drive to right, but a diving Betts robbed Gardner of his extra base hit bid. Boston completed the four-game sweep, and all but ended the Yanks’ chase for October.
It’s okay though, we’ll just say that Teixeira’s walk-off grand slam ruined Boston’s season to return the favor.