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Some perspective after the Yankees dropped ALCS Game Two

Last night’s loss was awful, annoying, and dumb. The Yankees aren’t destined for failure because of it, though.

MLB: ALCS-New York Yankees at Houston Astros Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Last night marked the first time in a while that baseball left me exasperated. Funny enough, you probably have to go back to Game Two of the 2017 ALCS to find the last time I was so frustrated at how a game played out.

The parallels between those games are remarkable. Justin Verlander pitched well—if not dominantly—in both matchups, and Carlos Correa collected the walk-off hits in each of them. A professor I once had liked to say that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it sure rhymes.

The difference between last night’s loss and the one from two autumns ago, however, is how the Yankees head back to New York with the series split. In 2017, they fell behind two games to none to start the ALCS. Now it’s basically a brand new series, a best of five competition where the Yankees have home-field advantage.

It also deserves mentioning that a few bright spots emerged from the Game Two loss. First, the Yankees scored off Verlander! They even chased him from the game after 6.2 innings of work. The Bombers showed that he’s mortal after all, and when they face him again, they will carry that knowledge with them.

Aaron Boone also further demonstrated that he’s a different manager than the one who helmed the ship in the 2018 ALDS. Boone aggressively removed a hapless James Paxton to keep the game within reach; he didn’t let things spiral out of control in the early innings.

I think Boone also made the right call going to Adam Ottavino in the fifth inning. That was the correct move in the situation! Chad Green was in the upper boundaries of his pitch count, and George Springer feasts on fastballs, Green’s signature offering. It just so happened that Ottavino made the worst pitch of his Yankees tenure. You can’t fault Boone for that one.

The Yankees could be up 2-0 on the Astros, but it doesn’t make sense to dwell on that. The team sure isn’t. “Time to regroup and get ready for Tuesday,” Aaron Judge told Bryan Hoch after the game. “I always like our chances going home, especially for three. It’s time to roll. It’s the postseason. We’re going to get it done.”

The frustrations with last night’s loss are valid. It was a terrible loss, and one we won’t forget for a long time. The road to the Fall Classic was never going to be easy, though, especially with an ALCS battle against the Astros. Hopefully the loss serves as a dramatic moment en route to the Yankees winning the pennant. As CC Sabathia likes to say, the World Series DVD would be boring without a little adversity.