The Yankees fought valiantly tonight, inching back from an early hole and never looking out of it, both in tonight’s Game Six, and in this series as a whole. They just didn’t have quite enough. The Astros continued to prove to be their bogeyman, the one they see in their nightmares, the same big bad haunting them at the end of every long season.
Houston defeated New York by a score of 5-4 to take the ALCS four games to two. Eight months after pitchers and catchers reported, after 162 regular season games and nine postseason contests, 108 of which resulted in victories, the Yankees’ 2019 season ended with a loss.
It was a good run, one that was better than it really had any right to be given the team’s injury circumstances. It just ended about a week and a half too early.
Winner of the Game
Gio Urshela had a great game, the first time we could say that during the playoffs. He hit a solo homer to keep the Yankees in the game, and flashed the leather on defense:
Gio brought the full toolbox to work tonight. #NextManUp pic.twitter.com/g6Rwp61H4S— New York Yankees (@Yankees) October 20, 2019
In what was the Yankees’ last game of the year, I suppose it fit well enough that the player that physically embodied the team’s next-man-up ethos showed out.
Of course, in the top of the ninth inning, DJ LeMahieu lifted a game-tying home run that momentarily saved the Yankees’ season. It was an epic moment, one that would have featured prominently in highlight reels the rest of the century if it proceeded a miraculous New York championship run:
Young LaMahieu, he in savage mode. #NextManUp pic.twitter.com/lKD2NV29oh— New York Yankees (@Yankees) October 20, 2019
Instead, it is a footnote, consigned to oblivion as the Astros celebrate beneath waterfalls of champagne.
Loser of the Game
I thought I was going to spotlight Chad Green here in the final game of the season. The right-hander entered the playoffs on fire, yielding just two runs across his final 20.2 innings of the season. He then allowed a backbreaking homer in Game Four, and today, a first-inning home run to Yuli Gurriel to put the Yankees in a deep early hole. We all know baseball is cruel game, tonight more than most nights, and the way the sport twisted Green every which way this season certainly was among its harsher exploits.
But Green was not the goat tonight. Aaron Boone saved his closer, Aroldis Chapman, for a moment that seemed unlikely to arrive for most of this game. Yet after LeMahieu’s heroics, there was Chapman on the mound, ready to push the game to extra innings and to extend the season just a bit longer.
Jose Altuve wouldn’t have it:
GO CRAZY, HOUSTON!!! pic.twitter.com/QCOSDExsSV— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) October 20, 2019
There is the final play of the Yankees’ 2019 season. Altuve’s bomb was gone the moment it left the bat, dejuiced ball and all, and after the Yankees spent hours clawing back from Green’s early missteps, everything they fought for was gone in an instant.
Only one team can win the World Series every year. The Yankees will not be that team in 2019. The Astros will advance to face the Nationals with a chance at winning their second championship in three years. The Yankees will lick their wounds over the course of a long winter.