Yanks Lose Wildcard Game, Keuchel shuts out Bombers

Photo Courtesy of Arturo Pardavila III, Flickr Creative Commons

The New York Yankees lost to the Houston Astros in the American League Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium by a score of 3-0, eliminating them from the MLB postseason.

Dallas Keuchel tossed six innings of scoreless baseball to pick up the win, while Masahiro Tanaka threw five innings, allowing two earned runs to take the defeat.

The Yankees managed just three hits off of Keuchel and were held hitless in the final three frames by the Astros bullpen. The Yankees pitching held the powerful Astros lineup to just five hits and three runs, but the offense could not get it going against Keuchel.

Colby Rasmus opened up the scoring, leading off the top of the second inning by blasting the first pitch he saw deep into the right field stands. Carlos Gomez did the same in the top of the fourth inning, as he launched the first pitch he saw into the bullpen in left center field to extend the lead to 2-0.

The Astros tacked on their final run in the top of the seventh off of Dellin Betances. Betances came in to face Chris Carter and walked him. Carter was then pinch ran for by speedster Jonathan Villar, who stole second base and came around to score on a bloop base hit by José Altuve.

The Yankees did not put up much of a fight, as they were retired in order in both the eighth and the ninth innings, and the Astros advanced to face the reigning American League Champion Kansas City Royals.

“It was disappointing to see the Yanks go down like that, but to be honest, at the start of the season I was not really expecting them to get to the postseason,” said longtime Yankees fan senior Joe Venturino.

Offensively, veterans Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann combined to hit 90 homeruns this season to lead the Yankees. Rodriguez came back off of his suspension for the entire 2014 season and shocked the baseball world by continuing to be an offensive force, hitting 33 dingers and driving in 86 runs.

On the mound, Tanaka, who went 12-7 with a 3.51 ERA, and Nathan Eovaldi, who went 14-3, led the Yankees rotation. Betances and Andrew Miller, each of who struck out over 100 batters, led a strong bullpen with the help of Adam Warren, who was used both as a starter and a reliever throughout the year.

Some youth were brought to the club later in the season with the call-ups of starting pitcher Luis Severino, second baseman Rob Refsnyder, and first baseman Greg Bird. Severino posted a 5-3 record with a 2.89 ERA in his 11 starts, Refsnyder batted .302 in his 16 games, and after the injury to Teixeira, Bird hit 11 homers and drove in 31 runs in just 46 games.

Those three guys have an incredibly bright future in the Bronx and will have to play bigger roles in the 2016 season to help the Yankees make a run in October. With Tanaka, Severino, Michael Pineda and Eovaldi back for next season, along with the strong bullpen, the Yankees have the pitching to be a quality team. They will need to add a couple of bats, preferably younger, to the lineup to help with the aging veterans.

All in all, the Yankees had a much more successful season than most baseball writers, analysts and fans had anticipated, but it came to an end after the one-game playoff. With a good offseason, they are poised to be back and ready for a big year in 2016.