ALCS Loss And Looking Up For Yankees In 2018

By Rich Mancuso/Sports Editor
This was the beginning for the Yankees even though this unexpected run to the World Series came to an end Saturday night in Houston. And there is no reason for the Yankees or their fans to keep their heads down as the most hated franchise in sports became a team to admire.

We caught on to Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and  Greg Bird, There was the maturity of Luis Severino on the mound, Masahiro Tanaka, newcomer Sonny Gray, and the veteran CC Sabathia.  Didi Gregorius no longer stands in the shadow of Derek Jeter, and there was Starlin Castro. And a whole cast of others, including Brett Gardner, the longest tenured Yankee, and Jacoby Ellsbury.  Oh, there’s that bullpen which made this unexpected Yankees run deep into October something special.

However, the Yankees didn’t win their 41st American League pennant and one loss kept them from playing in a 28th World Series. Coming up short always stings and those players who reconvene in mid-February will have one thing on their mind: Going to the World Series. 

Manager Joe Girardi loves his job. Although his future is uncertain, Girardi, by all means, deserves a contract extension — which will be determined in due time. Most fans expect him back in the dugout at Yankee Stadium come April 2018.

Certainly the most underrated executive in all of sports, GM Brian Cashman will get another contract. Anyone who disputes that doesn’t know business in this new Major League Baseball era because Cashman always comes up with the right moves at the trade deadline.

Just think again what the Yankees needed at the end of July? The reality was this Yankees team matured quicker than expected  in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year. The bullpen needed some revision and the Yankees had that excess of prospects that enabled Cashman to shore up the pen.

It worked and a veteran Todd Frazier also came in that trade with David Robertson. He contributed big time and more than once.  The Yankees did not win their division, won 91 games, won the Al Wild Card game, overcame that 0-2 deficit to the Indians in the ALDS, and made this ALCS interesting when they returned to Houston with a 3-2 lead.

But they did not score on the road in this ALCS, three runs, and that is what they will remember about the October postseason run that came up short. Gary Sanchez needs and will get better behind the plate.

And they will adjust to never seeing a pitcher again throw 20 straight curve balls at them. Lance McCullers with his four scoreless innings finished the shutout in Game 7 and the Yankees could not handle that breaking ball.

But next year is on the horizon and coming up short is always a learning experience. Because these Yankees were not supposed to be where they were in October, they will take this as a win.

And so should all of their fans who got caught up with the “Baby Bombers” and the good mix of veterans that got them to a Game 7 in the ALCS.  Yankee Stadium, the new one, finally rocked and roared and for the past few weeks this was the story in sports.

The Yankees should be the story in all of baseball in the years to come. They matured and learned as they went along. So for this baseball in the Bronx that was not supposed to be viable in 2017 there is next year.

And 2018 is looking pretty good!

Comment: Rich Mancuso:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

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