If you came here thinking you're going to hear one excuse from me, you're not. The Yankees were the better team today. They had better hitting, they had better pitching, and they had better managing. The Guardians were outmatched today, just like they were on Sunday night. The Yankees were hands down the better team this series. They hit home runs, we hit bloopers that dropped between the shortstop and left fielder. End of story.
I don't care about the 3x payroll difference or the ample amounts of legitimate excuses that I could lean on, from the MLB needing a marquee team alive, to the Guardians hotel situation, to the rainout. None of those mattered today. When you are up 2-1 on a team with a home game remaining, you have to find a way to close it out. There are no excuses for that.
I am disappointed that we didn't throw Shane Bieber today. Hopefully he is well rested for Opening Day next March, but I wouldn't be surprised if Francona gave him another day off just to make sure. This game was over from the very first inning, when it was clear as day that the moment was too big for Aaron Civale. If you walk the first batter of the game on four straight pitches, you are not ready for the game. He was nervous, couldn't find the zone, and when he finally did, the ball landed on the moon.
I think Francona mismanaged the decision to start Civale today, but I'll ride with him on whatever he decides, every single time. I will be more disappointed in Clevelanders if they call into sports talk radio shows tomorrow bitching about Terry Francona than I am with his decision tonight. He is the best manager we've ever had.
Bottom line: this was an incredible season. I'm not falling into the "playing with house money" narrative, because this team should've closed out this series. When you're up 2-1 with a home game, it's no longer house money. It's no longer about David vs Goliath, payroll, etc etc etc. Up 2-1, you need to win. But ultimately, when you look at the season as a whole, if you offered me a trip to the ALDS on Opening Day, I would've had to read the fine print because there was something fishy going on. This season was extremely memorable and the sour ending will not take away from it.
There's something special about being from a small, proud market and taking on New York City. It was a fun ride this week, and I'm proud of our boys for taking us on it. Love you, Cleveland.
**The Guardians deserve ALL the taunting we get. You cannot rock a baby to the Ace that shut us down not once, but twice, this series when you are still LOSING. If we won tonight, we'd all be rocking the baby in their faces, so they are 100% in the right to rock it in ours.