Sunday’s game was a game that happened, but it really doesn’t matter. It would have been nice for the Yankees to have had something to play for today in an ideal world where the Red Sox don’t beat the Astros yesterday, but THIS TEAM IS GOING TO THE PLAYOFFS?
Imagine your reaction this offseason if someone told you that. Maybe the most optimistic of you out there believed the entire time, but I am willing to bet a lot of you didn’t. This was going to be a season for Brian Cashman to continue re-tooling before the big free agent splashes to come. Yet, this team is going to the playoffs.
Some will diminish the accomplishment of getting to the Wild Card game. Whatever. This team played their butts off and did as much as anyone could have asked for. Aaron Judge is a legitimate MVP, Luis Severino is going to finish top 5 in Cy Young voting, and the young core of Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Greg Bird, complimented by guys like Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro, looks like a force to be reckoned with for years to come.
About this game, if we must: the Yankees actually out-hit the Blue Jays, 5-2, but Toronto made every last one of theirs count. Jordan Montgomery allowed just one run in 5.1 innings of work to close out his rookie season, striking out three batters and walking just one. Domingo German was responsible for the Blue Jays’ winning run in the 8th inning.
New York got their lone run on a Matt Holliday solo shot. Holliday is one of the players that Joe Girardi will have to weigh heavily when constructing his roster for the Wild Card game (and hopefully beyond). Does Holliday have a place in the lineup with Bird, Aaron Hicks, Jacoby Ellsbury, Todd Frazier, and Chase Headley all likely needing a spot? If not, what Holliday brought to this team this season was great. His leadership seemed to have a demonstrative affect on the likes of Judge and that is value added beyond his salary.
Now we wait for the announcement of Girardi’s one-game playoff roster for Tuesday. That will be its own thing to break apart and analyze, but for now, take a moment to realize how fantastic this season was for the Yankees. It has been the most fun season I can personally remember, and it feels like they are really just getting started in what they will be able to do for seasons to come.