Yankees’ remarkable blowout stat proves 2022 playoffs will be tense

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 01: Aaron Judge #99 talks with Harrison Bader #22 of the New York Yankees during the fourth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium on October 01, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 01: Aaron Judge #99 talks with Harrison Bader #22 of the New York Yankees during the fourth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium on October 01, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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The New York Yankees were lucky enough to get a bye directly to the ALDS in Year 1 of MLB’s brand-new playoff format — or, wait, sorry. Forget “luck”; after a difficult-beyond-belief August, the Yankees earned their bye.

While there’s nothing that can truly match the intensity of playoff baseball, New York’s early-September slate, featuring massive series wins over the Rays and Red Sox, as well as some hangin’ tough in Tampa, did a pretty good job of mimicking their upcoming slate.

And, in a way, so did the Yankees’ entire season, where the bullpen fluctuated in effectiveness and surprising player after surprising player was forced to contribute at the margins to win one tight game after another.

In short, these Yankees blew out their opponents on occasion, but almost never got blown out themselves, instead threading the tightrope repeatedly against top-level teams.

If it felt like the Yanks were in every game, your inclination was correct; Aaron Boone’s club staved off a collapse and lost just six games by five runs or more, the lowest total in a 162-game campaign since the 1977 NL Champion Dodgers.

Yankees never get blown out in 2022. MLB Playoffs will be a grind.

Entering a postseason that’s bound to be full of nailbiter after nailbiter with a bullpen without a closer.

You’d be right to be worried, but you’d also be right to note that the Yankees have waded similar waters all season long. Why change now?

Oh, and for reference, those six blowout losses by five or more runs were:

  • A bizarre April 17 5-0 loss in Baltimore to drop the Yankees to 5-5, the L pinned on Jonathan Loaisiga. Anyone remember that?
  • The second game of the doubleheader against the White Sox in May, another late 5-0 loss
  • Nestor Cortes getting unceremoniously whomped by the Twins at Target Field in June
  • The finale of the awful four-game set at Fenway Park in July
  • Toronto pummeling Frankie Montas to open that nightmare home series in August
  • The 9-0 loss to the Rays that opened September

Evenly spread out. One per month. Not relegated to the “collapse” months. Not particular memorable. None of them against the Houston Astros.

Odds are the Yankees will find themselves in plenty of tough-to-watch games this October. Ideally, they’re able to come out on top in the majority of their coin flips, and can continue their 2022 trend of minimizing disaster at every turn.