The Yankees close out 2015 with a loss to Houston in the AL Wild Card Game. The New York Yankees struggled to score runs down the stretch, losing 6 of their last 7 regular season games, finishing 87-75. They received help from Arizona (who beat the Astros) on the last day of the regular season, in order to host the AL Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium. During the AL Wild Card matchup with Houston, the Yankees could not find any answers for Astros’ LHP Dallas Keuchel, who won all 3 of his starts in ’15 vs. the Yanks…allowing 0 ERs in 22 innings of work.
Here is the bottom line: the Yankees exceeded expectations in ’15, made the playoffs (albeit a quick entry and exit), without mortgaging any of their future in RHP Luis Severino, 1B Greg Bird, 2B Rob Refsnyder, or AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre OF Aaron Judge. In the Wild Card game, Manager Joe Girardi started a 22-year old in Bird, 24-year old Refsnyder, and a 25-year old SS in Didi Gregorius. Definitely, a sea change for the Yankees in their full employment of their 40-man roster and the farm system to effectively navigate the ’15 season.
So, understanding that the Yankees showed their age down the stretch – DH Alex Rodriguez’s bat slowed, 1B Mark Teixeira slumped and then was lost to the season (broken leg), OFs Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury did not hit in the second half, and C Brian McCann hit under .200 in September – there’s plenty of upside to this season. GM Brian Cashman will look for right-handed hitting help in the offseason through Free Agency and trades, to combat a glaring Yankee weakness vs. left-handed starting pitchers. He’ll have a deep Free Agent OF market to work through, as well as a strong starting pitching market. The Yankees need further upgrade in the starting rotation, and another reliever to compliment the overworked trio of LHP Justin Wilson-RHP Dellin Betances-LHP Andrew Miller…all who were rode hard in September.
Mike Lalor can be heard talking New York sports on the Spadora on Sports radio program. For more details, please visit www.spadoraonsports.com.