BOSTON — There was a second within the second inning Wednesday night time, when Gerrit Cole broke off an 0-2 slider to Christian Arroyo that dove precisely because it was alleged to, then adopted it with a 1-2 fastball that exploded within the zone for strike three, when it regarded prefer it could be OK.
That was the top of the second inning, when the Yankees trailed 2-0. Moderately than settling in, Cole started the third by permitting a house run to Kyle Schwarber, a single to Kiké Hernandez, and a stroll to Rafael Devers.
Aaron Boone got here to fetch him, and he walked off to vicious mocking from the house followers and a status that can’t get better in New York for at the very least one other calendar yr.
The sport turned on that and one different heartbreak. Within the sixth inning trailing 3-1, Giancarlo Stanton crushed a ball to left off Ryan Brasier that regarded prefer it was about to tie the sport.
However what might need been a season-saving dwelling run bounced off the highest of the Inexperienced Monster as a substitute. Third base coach Phil Nevin waved Aaron Decide round third in an indefensible ship, Decide was out simply, and Stanton stood on second, screaming “F–k!”
It was the appropriate phrase, delivered within the good tone for a franchise that hasn’t been this annoyed in years. This 6-2 loss to Boston within the American League Wild Card recreation will forged a protracted shadow all winter, and elevate the frustration round this franchise to a roar equal to the one which poured from Stanton when he misplaced the essential RBI.
Because the bitter Octobers have piled on prime of each other, the vitality across the Yanks has grown heavier.
The 2017 run to the ALCS arrived forward of schedule, and hinted at a burgeoning dynasty. In 2018 the Yanks may tip their hats to the juggernaut Sox and say that it was merely Boston’s yr. In 2019 they may focus their anger on the dishonest Astros.
Final yr’s division collection loss to the Rays appeared to trigger a special type of hangover. The onetime Child Bombers appeared joyless out of the gate this season, burdened by the strain of time passing and objectives unfulfilled.
What does it really feel wish to be the Yankees, or to like the Yankees, now? With Cole failing to play the position of this decade’s CC Sabathia in consecutive Octobers? With the season ending at Fenway Park — of all locations — embarrassed by a Pink Sox workforce that fizzled and limped into the postseason?
With Decide one yr away from free company and nil World Collection at-bats? With a large gulf remaining between the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays?
Within the days to return, many followers will certainly vent their anger on the entrance workplace, on Boone, and on Nevin (who, one has to assume, may pay for the error together with his job). Boone may have clinched one other contract with a win on this recreation, and now we’ll must verify on his standing amid the wreckage of this brutal finish.
As a participant, Boone was the ultimate Yankee to strengthen a workforce’s outdated alpha dominance of Boston and the American League. His ALCS-winning dwelling run off Tim Wakefield in 2003 appeared on the time to be the most recent in a collection of tales that at all times ended the identical method.
That dynamic has lengthy since shifted, with the Pink Sox profitable 4 championships to the Yankees’ one within the 19 seasons since.
However has it ever felt extra stark than it did on this chilly night time in Fenway, when the workforce regressed even additional — when the chants of “Yankees suck” had been correct slightly than wishful? Even the 2004 collapse was a painful anomaly for the Yanks, not a pattern.
It’s nearly by no means sensible or rational to place undue weight on a single baseball recreation, however this one was totally different. This was the type of dangerous loss that may echo in New York like dangerous losses as soon as did in New England.