The ace was terrible, the offense was non-existent, and the decision-making was nearly as bad. The Yankees are now returning home after a 6-2 loss to the Red Sox in the AL wild-card game at Fenway Park on Tuesday.
The Yankees’ roller-coaster season came to an end with a thud thanks to Gerrit Cole’s career-worst postseason performance and a lineup that didn’t give them much of a chance.
The Yankees were outclassed Tuesday after winning their last six regular-season games against Boston, including a sweep at Fenway Park just over a week ago, and it left them facing another long offseason, their 12th without a World Series appearance.
In the ALDS, they will face their two biggest current rivals, Boston and Tampa Bay. Cole described his reaction to his performance as “sick to my stomach.”
He was most likely not the only one who felt this way.
“This was a difficult year,” manager Aaron Boone said. “We put ourselves in this position with a chance to do something special in October. The league has caught up to us. We have to get better. We need to improve in all areas.” On Tuesday, this was on display.
Cole had never pitched less than five innings in any of his previous 13 postseason starts, and his two-plus innings on Tuesday were the shortest of his career. Cole quickly put the Yankees in a bind after declaring that the left hamstring tightness that bothered him in September would not be an issue.
Cole struck out the first two batters in the bottom of the first inning before walking Rafael Devers to take a 1-2 lead. It proved costly when Xander Bogaerts came up and blasted a two-run home run to center just as the sellout crowd began chanting “Ge-rrit.”
The 427-foot blast gave Boston a 2-0 lead and energized the sold-out Fenway Park crowd. Kyle Schwarber led off the bottom of the third inning with a grand slam to right, making it 3-0.
Kiké Hernandez reached on an infield hit, and Cole walked Devers to end his dreadful 50-pitch outing in which he gave up three runs and two homers.
“Obviously, we knocked out their ace. That’s their best pitcher right now. That’s who they gave all the money to,” said Bogaerts.
Clay Holmes faced Bogaerts with two on and no one out and got him on a check-swing for the first out. To keep the game at three runs, the right-hander got Alex Verdugo to ground into an inning-ending double play.
In the sixth inning, the Yankees offense came to life against Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi. They didn’t do much against Eovaldi, who allowed seven runs in two and a third innings on September 24.
Giancarlo Stanton hit a shot off the Green Monster in left with two outs in the top of the first, but he stared at it from home plate, apparently thinking it was gone and was held to a single. Regardless, Joey Gallo grounded out on a check swing to end the 11-pitch inning.