Each year in October when every team resets to 0-0 and the postseason begins, all of the participants have the same theoretical bite at the World Series apple.
Winning the World Series is a gargantuan task, which is why just making the playoffs in the first place and being in a position to take that bite is so important. But for the Yankees, a team that’s made ten empty-handed trips to the playoffs since their last World Series appearance, those bites at the apple have proven rotten.
The question for them, just like every team trying to crack the maddening code that rarely rewards the regular season’s best team, is how to ensure that they enter the biggest time of the year with their chompers ready to bite.
“You’re trying to just build yourself as best you can, trying to coach them up and prepare as best you can to be in the best situation to put the odds more in your favor,” manager Aaron Boone said at his end-of-season press conference. “That’s the best I can say it to you.”
The 2022 Yankees were beset by a plague of injuries in the second half, creating a huge disparity between their 57-24 record (.704 winning percentage) pre-All-Star break and their 42-39 (.519) mark afterward. Injuries kept important players like DJ LeMahieu, Andrew Benintendi, Michael King, Ron Marinaccio and Scott Effross from appearing in a single postseason game, interrupted the regular season rhythms of Anthony Rizzo, Luis Severino, Nestor Cortes and Giancarlo Stanton, and left Matt Carpenter, Clay Holmes and Frankie Montas still clearly affected by the time the postseason rolled around.
“It’s not ideal,” Boone said of his team’s time spent in the training room. “In the first half, we had that by and large, really good health and consistency. Unfortunately, we were having to try some things out on the fly in the postseason. That’s not always ideal but it’s also necessary at times. Obviously you want to just roll in with what got you there.”
Instead of being at full strength and in the best position to recapture their first-half swagger, as Boone alluded to, the Yankees were cobbling together a makeshift lineup in each postseason game. Aaron Hicks getting injured against the Guardians left him out of the Houston series entirely, depleting the roster even further, and the hits to the bullpen forced pitchers Jameson Taillon and Clarke Schmidt into unfamiliar relief roles that they ultimately did not handle well.
“We typically have teams on a yearly basis that enter the postseason with a chance to win,” Brian Cashman said after the Bombers were eliminated. “This year’s particular squad, we got depleted going into the postseason, we had a lot of injuries. The record [down the stretch] doesn’t reflect the talent. It reflected a lot of havoc wreaked on the roster as we entered the second half as well as the postseason.”
While that is all true, the fact of the matter is that even with …read more
Source:: The Denver Post – Sports