It’s not like the New York Yankees needed the reminder, but general manager Brian Cashman better have all the phone lines open over the next 11 days because Thursday’s walk-off loss to the Houston Astros further proved one sad reality.
If these two teams meet for a seven-game series in the playoffs, the Yankees will simply not be triumphant unless the necessary additions are made before the trade deadline.
For those who think otherwise, we’d love to see the evidence. But every single time these teams meet — especially when it’s in Houston — the Yankees either choke, or the Astros skate by as both teams don’t accomplish enough to decisively win the game.
In fairness, the schedule has not lined up for the Yankees when it comes to facing the Astros this year. The two teams split a four-game series in the Bronx, but since then, New York had to travel to Houston for a random one-game series on June 30 (they lost before heading to Cleveland) and now their All-Star break was cut short to squeeze in this doubleheader on Thursday. All of this was because the lockout pushed the season back a week and MLB was determined to make up the lost games. It just so happened the Yankees missed three against the Astros. And now this is how we’re playing them.
But Thursday was the perfect example of the Astros catching every break and punching back — with their worst players! — in a flash.
The Yankees need to add reinforcements at the deadline to beat the Astros
For those counting at home, that’s the SECOND time this season JJ Matijevic (who?) has beaten the Yankees this year. He’s batting .150 with a 56 OPS+ and negative WAR. This scoring situation was also made possible by the great Aledmys Diaz, who doubled off Michael King after being faced with an 0-2 count. Diaz is batting .233 with a .659 OPS, 87 OPS+ and — you guessed it! — 12 extra-base hits on the year.
Now, we can argue plenty of other things. Why is King giving anything for Diaz to hit on a 1-2 count? Why is the infield shifted for Matijevic, who, again, is hitting .150? Why is King throwing a changeup to Matijevic on a 1-1 count?
But those arguments on futile. The answer is simple: the Yankees are in Houston, and nothing ever goes right for them there. And to think this Astros team won’t steal a game in the Bronx if they meet in the postseason is delusion at its finest.
“They need a bat.” Yes, they do! But the Yankees’ problems are inexplicable against the Astros. It’s the whole “rent-free” thing that we hate to talk about. The Astros simply exist and the damage they’ve done to the Yankees in years past just won’t go away. It’s on the Yankees to shift that narrative. How that happens? We don’t know. But all we’re saying is the Astros can’t get better while the Yankees opt to hold onto their prospects because they don’t want to overpay for someone like Luis Castillo.
On paper, the Yankees are better than the Astros right now. One bat isn’t going to do the trick. They need a bat, a starter and a reliever, and a clear, distinct advantage over the Astros once the postseason arrives.
If that doesn’t happen, well, get ready for the same old story that’s unfolded since 2017.