Giancarlo Stanton New York Yankees
USA TODAY Sports photo

The Yankees put in their best effort of the ALCS, and that still wasn’t enough to beat the rival Astros.

Houston came from behind twice to win Game 4 6-5 and complete the sweep, overcoming a 3-0 deficit early in the game. They’ll face the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series as the Yankees enter the offseason with more questions than answers once again.

What’s to become of Aaron Judge? Will Brian Cashman get yet another five-year deal or will Hal Steinbrenner finally smarten up and move on from the veteran general manager?

Defense wins championships. Errors haunted the Yankees in Game 4 just as they did in Game 3. Gleyber Torres and Isiah Kiner-Falefa each made mistakes on what should have been an easy double-play grounder. Houston capitalized a batter later when Yordan Alvarez’s single tied the game, and then Alex Bregman gave Houston a 6-5 lead.

It’s astonishing that the Yankees actually committed the seventh-fewest errors as a team, only 74. Yet, considering Kiner-Falefa and Torres were responsible for nearly 30% of them, the Yankees’ infield defense lost a winnable game.

Aaron Judge is the new Alex Rodriguez. Alex Rodriguez won two MVP trophies with the Yankees, in 2005 and 2007. New York was eliminated in the ALDS each season, and A-Rod hit .200 with just a solo home run across both series. Some MVP indeed.

Aaron Judge’s playoff history has been very similar. He has 13 home runs and 24 RBI in the playoffs, but is just a .210 career hitter. In 2022, the likely AL MVP hit a pitiful .138. Not exactly the postseason he wanted before hitting free agency, is it? His poor performance won’t affect his market, but definitely expect teams to use this against Judge in negotiations.

A desperate need for change. Brian Cashman got a new five-year contract after the 2017 season with the expectation that a World Series wasn’t far off. Sadly, it is upside, analytics, and disappointment that define these last five years.. It doesn’t matter that the Yankees have made the ALCS twice. Anyone with eyes can see they’re continually outplayed in the postseason.

Not to beat the dead horse, but being swept by Houston is just the latest sign Cashman needs to go. While not necessarily bad at his job, the Yankees need a fresh face. A more balanced voice who won’t live and die by the numbers would be ideal, but who is that voice? More importantly, will that new voice be enough to keep Aaron Judge around?

Buckle in, fans. This could be a long winter.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.