Time to forget about how the season ended and focus on the good times of the Yankees’ 2017 season. Luckily for Yankee fans, there were plenty.
For the past few years, most of the votes for Comeback of the Year were confined to one game, specifically in the regular season. If that were the case this year, we would have gone with the Yankees’ epic comeback against the Orioles at the end of April, capped off by a game-winning home run by Matt Holliday. Here’s a video recap of that game, which we will call our honorable mention.
Despite how amazing that game was, the Yankees treated us to some unforgettable October moments for the first time in years. So our vote for best comeback isn’t confined to one game. We’re going to look at an entire series.
Before we get into the specifics of the Yankees’ amazing comeback against the Indians in the ALDS, it’s important to remember the hole the Yankees were in heading back to New York. It wasn’t just an 0-2 hole against the hottest team in baseball and the trendy pick to win the AL pennant. It was an 0-2 hole after a back-breaking walk-off loss that left many calling for Joe Girardi’s job. A sweep felt imminent.
That was about when Masahiro Tanaka showed up and pitched the greatest game of his Yankee career, although it almost never happened. The Yankees were just a few inches away from getting swept like everyone thought they would after Game Two, until Aaron Judge leaped up and saved the season. Take that Hample.
Judge’s heroics kept the game scoreless and preserved Tanaka’s gem, but the game was still in doubt thanks to Carlos Carrasco matching zeroes with Tanaka, until he was pulled in favor of Cleveland’s dominant bullpen and former Yankee Andrew Miller. The southpaw had allowed just one home run to a lefty all season entering game three, but Greg Bird was about to add another.
In actuality, this titanic blast should have counted as two home runs, but the solo shot was all the Yankees would need to get on the board in the game and the series.
The Yankees found it much easier to put runs on the board in Game Four, solving Trevor Bauer and tying the series behind Luis Severino’s redemption start. The Bombers chased Bauer early, and just like that, the teams were heading back to Cleveland.
Despite seizing momentum in improbable fashion, the Yankees still had an uphill climb in the decisive Game Five against likely AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber. The Yanks tagged Kluber in game two before giving up the lead, so surely Kluber would be back to top form in the biggest game of the season.
Kluber’s only problem getting back on track was Didi Gregorius, who earned the name Sir October with his heroic performance.
Cleveland clawed their way back against an effective CC Sabathia, and the Yankees were clinging to a one-run lead in the ninth, desperately seeking insurance. Enter Brett Gardner. Exit Cleveland.
The Yankees have come back from an 0-2 hole in the ALDS before, but this series felt even more incredible given the youth of the team and the power of their opponent. Nobody expected the Yankees to win the series, especially after the first two games. The Yanks received contributions from everybody in this epic comeback, which makes it the easy and obvious pick for best comeback of the year.