As the Yankees have gone along in this year’s playoffs, we’ve been handing out a Player of the Game for every single game, win or loss. Obviously in the wins, there’s usually more than one person who had a performance worthy of note. Even in the losses, there’s usually been at least one guy who’s helped keep the Yankees in things. Prior to yesterday, all of the Yankees’ losses had gone down to the wire, and there’s always still been a performance worthy of highlighting.
There really wasn’t anything worth highlighting in Game 3 of the ALCS. The Yankees fell 5-0 to the Astros, and as a result are now down 3-0 in the series. The circumstances of such a listless display created one of the more demoralizing Yankees playoff performances in recent memory. They’re now a loss away from their season ending, and heading into a winter of uncertainty.
Even more depressing for your author of what was supposed to be a Player of the Game article is that there’s also really no one worth praising. So as for handing out a Player of the Game for Game 3 of the ALCS: I abstain.
On the offensive side of things, the Yankees recorded just three hits, two of which came when they were down to their very last out of the game. While they also drew five walks along with that, they just could do absolutely nothing to string together any sort of sustained rally. Astros starter Cristian Javier, who was also the starter for the combined no-hitter that Houston inflicted on the Yankees back in June, was good and he handed things over to a bullpen that didn’t run into much resistance either.
On the pitching side of things, Gerrit Cole was mostly fine, but ended up with a final line that doesn’t look pretty. He ended up allowing five runs, only three of which were earned, in five innings on five hits and two walks.
The two unearned runs came after miscommunication between Harrison Bader and Aaron Judge led to Bader dropping a fly ball with two outs in the second inning. Naturally, that immediately led to a Chas McCormick two-run homer in the very next at-bat. The three earned runs Cole allowed came without him on the mound, as he was pulled after leaving the bases loaded with nobody out in the sixth. Naturally, all three of those runners ended up scoring after Lou Trivino came in. Sure, it’s a hard ask to get out of a bases loaded, no outs jam with no damage, but between that and the error, Cole’s final line did end up getting dinged for some stuff that wasn’t entirely his fault. However, it’s also hard to give him Player of the Game, because at the end of the day, you still shouldn’t be allowing home runs to Chas McCormick, no offense to him, and exiting in the sixth inning with the bases loaded.
The bullpen after Trivino was fine, with Miguel Castro and Domingo Germán each throwing a scoreless inning, but I’m not about to give them big props for doing that job against an Astros team mostly just looking to get through the last couple innings and finish off a win.
With all that in mind, the Yankees’ Player of the Game for Game 3 of the ALCS is nobody.