The 2018 Yankees’ season is still over. While the ending is going to ruin things for a lot of people, 100-win seasons don’t come around all that often. With things wrapping up, there will be a lot of season retrospectives. Some about the best moments of the year, some bemoaning what this team could have been. This isn’t about any of that that. This is strictly about ranking the weirdest moments from the Yankees’ 2018 season, starting with:
Having just surrendered a two-run lead to the Indians, Austin Romine stepped to the plate to lead off the top of the seventh on July 14th. He then gave the Yankees the lead right back in the weirdest way possible.
He is officially credited with hitting a double and advancing on two separate errors. That would be the game’s deciding run, as the Yankees held onto the lead after that. The game was (in a way) decided because of Austin Romine’s running.
Taking on the Rangers on May 23rd, the Yankees had a 84% chance to win this game after the top of the fourth according to win probability. At the end of the fifth, they had a 92% chance to win. Just knowing that and nothing else about this game, you would probably guess that noting much happened other than maybe the Yankees adding a run to their lead. That is not what happened.
The Yankees had a 4-0 lead after the top of the fourth, but CC Sabathia allowed a pair of home runs as the Rangers took a one-run lead. The Yankees then immediately answered back with six runs of their own, and went up 10-5. After all that craziness squeezed into those half innings, naturally the game just petered out after that, right?
Nope. The Rangers scored three runs each in the fifth and sixth, taking the lead again. They had swung a <20% win probability back over 50% in their favor, not once, but twice. The Rangers eventually won 12-10.
After having had the lead in the early innings on May 29th, the Yankees were down 5-3 to the Astros going into the bottom of the ninth. After Miguel Andujar walked, Brett Gardner homered to tie the game, which would go to extra innings.
Aaron Boone brought in Aroldis Chapman to pitch the top of the tenth, but he got himself in trouble with a two-out walk and a wild pitch. Tony Kemp was now in scoring position with the top of Houston’s order due up. Chapman then threw another wild pitch that got past Gary Sanchez, and it looked like Kemp was going to be only 90 feet away. Except, the Yankees were beneficiaries of one of the weirdest bounces you’ll see.
Sanchez threw Kemp out at third, and the Yankees won on Gleyber Torres’ walk-off single in the bottom half of the 10th.
When the Yankees took on the Nationals in the first game of their two-game series in Washington DC, Juan Soto was still a highly-ranked prospect playing in Double-A. The Yankees-Nats game was postponed after five innings with the game tied. The expected double-header the following day was also rained out.
Five days later, Soto was called up and made his major league debut on May 20th. The Yankees and Nationals eventually made up their game on June 18th, with Soto now on Washington’s roster. He was used as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning of the resumed game and immediately homered. The Nationals went on to win 5-3.
Due to the quirkiness of baseball stats, Soto’s official debut is still listed as May 20th. The Yankees-Nationals game is still listed as having been played May 15th, despite it finishing at a later date. Soto technically hit a home run five days before his major league debut.
This is the most recent and also most painful addition to this list. However disappointing the game was, though, it is also the weirdest moment of the season.
With the Yankees down big in game three of the ALDS against the Red Sox, Romine was sent in to pitch to just eat up the ninth inning. He managed to get through it, but did allow a two-run home run to Brock Holt in the process. Adding to the weirdness, Holt’s home run game him baseball’s first ever postseason cycle.
In recording that inning, Romine became just the second position player to pitch in the playoffs, joining Cliff Pennington in game four of the 2015 ALCS. Due to the home run, Romine has now allowed more playoff hits on the mound than he has recorded at the plate.
If you have other weird moments that weren’t mentioned that you want to remember, feel free to keep the list going in the comments.