On some level, we’re definitely all lucky to be Yankees fans. The team hasn’t finished with a losing record since 1992. They’ve won many World Series and been contenders nearly ever year in that time. Nearly every other fan base would take that, including their run in 2021.
On the other hand, good lord 2021 was a tiring year. Even though they still made the playoffs, the Yankees definitely underachieved after going into the year as favorites for the AL pennant. What was especially frustrating was how the season played. So many games, including so many wins, were needlessly close. Just when you think you could trust one aspect of the team, things would go wrong with them. It was the stupidest 92-win season possible.
In “honor” of the 2021 Yankees’ season finally ending, let’s take a look back at the five stupidest games they played this season.
The “runner on second in extra innings” rule thankfully seems to be ending after this year, because it played a role in at least one very dumb loss.
Baltimore scored two fourth inning runs to take a 2-1 lead early in this game at Yankee Stadium. After that, a debuting Jameson Taillon and the Yankees’ pitchers combined to allow just one base runner, a fifth inning single, through the nine regulation innings. However, the offense could only muster one run to tie the game, sending it into extra innings.
In the 10th, with the innings starting with a runner on, a Gleyber Torres error allowed Baltimore to retake the lead despite still having not recorded a hit since the fifth inning. The Yankees answered back in the bottom of the inning, but again could only tie the game.
In the 11th, the Orioles finally broke their hit-less run and scored a run in the most annoying way possible. A bloop single from Chance Sisco put Baltimore back in front. In the bottom inning, Gio Urshela was thrown out at home, completing a double play to end the game. Double plays and outs at home would end up becoming two quite unfortunate themes.
Like the Rays last season, the Yankees have developed a habit of getting into tiffs with teams only to get their noses rubbed in it later. (There may be another example coming in a moment.) Another one happened to wrap up the first half of the season.
The Yankees were on the verge of a statement sweep in Houston after shutting out the Astros in the first two games of the series. Aaron Judge miming putting on a jacket, which was almost certainly a reference to José Altuve telling his teammates not to rip off his jersey after his 2019 ALCS walk-off, had briefly become a team thing.
In the series finale, the Yankees were up 7-2 going into the bottom of the ninth. After the first two batters reached, Chad Green was brought in to try and finish things off. He then allowed four of five Astros batters to reach base, including a walk-off home run to Altuve himself.
It turned out the Mets were quite mad after the Yankees beat them the day before this game. They thought the Yankees were pitch tipping via whistles, in what turned out was likely a misunderstanding. However, that didn’t stop Francisco Lindor from mimicking a whistling gesture after he homered in the following day’s game.
In the seventh inning, Giancarlo Stanton gave it back to the Mets by doing a similar gesture after a home run that completed a Yankees’ rally from down four runs. That caused the benches to clear, although things eventually settled down. Then in the eighth, Lindor homered yet again, and this time the Yankees had no answer, and another team got the last laugh on them. Again.
For the first seven innings of this game, Domingo Germán was dominant and started the eighth inning with a no-hitter, having allowed just one runner to reach on a walk. However, he started that inning by allowing a double. At that point, his pitch count was nearing the limit that he came into the game with, and Boone decided to go to the bullpen. It shouldn’t have been an issue with the Yankees up 4-0 and needing just six more outs.
Like so many of the other games on this list, the bullpen couldn’t hold on. This time it was Jonathan Loáisiga who was the culprit, having one of his few bad games this year. Loáisiga was not able to retire any of the four batters he faced, allowing two doubles and two singles before getting replaced. Zack Britton came in and got the first two outs of the inning, but both were enough to score a run, and after going into the eighth inning with no hits, the Red Sox now had five runs, and eventually a win.
The start of this game could not have gone much better. After getting owned by the hitting half of Shohei Ohtani earlier in the series, the Yankees struck back against the pitching half. They got him for seven runs in 0.2 innings as he exited the game as both a hitter and pitcher in less than an inning.
The Yankees held onto that lead for most of the game, but then two different rain delays came. In a ninth inning that happened in the early hours of July 1st, many hours after the game started, Aroldis Chapman blew a four-run lead. He and Lucas Luetge combined to allow seven runs in the inning, taking a semi-sizable lead into a semi-sizable deficit. A shell-shocked Yankees’ offense couldn’t answer and the Angels won.
The combination of how it ended, when it ended, and the fact that on another day the game might’ve been called official during one of the rain delays makes this one the dumbest loss in an unimpeachably dumb season.
There are many other games that deserve honorable mention in whatever the hell 2021 was.