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Yankees couldn’t conjure up enough moments in this Game 7

HOUSTON — Every now and again, someone would open the main door leading to the clubhouse, and the silence would be replaced by the tinny, distant evidence of sustained joy. The Astros were celebrating a second-ever World Series appearance on the field, most of the 43,201 folks who’d watched were still in the house.

Fireworks crackled. Horns blared. Music boomed.

(“Shout it! Shout it! Shout it out loud …”)

Then the door would shut again, and the Yankees would be alone with the quiet, with the knowledge that in a little while the team plane would be heading east, toward home, instead of west, where Los Angeles had beckoned, where the World Series will begin Tuesday with other teams and other players.

“It sucks,” Yankees first baseman Greg Bird said, the reality of this 4-0 loss in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series slowly settling in his soul. “You want to win that game. You want to play in the World Series.” He shook his head, frowned, came right back to the originator. “It sucks.”

You can get caught up in things like fate and destiny and providence when you find yourself in the middle of one of these splendid playoff runs, and it was easy to believe the Yankees possessed all of that the way they’d rescued themselves from an early 0-3 deficit in the wild-card game, the way they’d rescued themselves from the 0-2 deficit in the ALDS, the way they’d ransacked the Astros the middle three games of this series.

There even seemed to be another omen in the offing Saturday, Aaron Judge one last time this season extending his 6-foot-7 inches and boxer’s reach to snare a ball that may have given the Astros a 1-0 lead in the second. Surely, this was a sign, a hopeful message.

(Instead, it was a cruel joke straight out of the Endy Chavez bait-and-switch Game 7 catalogue. Fun game sometimes.)

In the end, though, all that mystical stuff is fun to talk about, but not nearly as useful as getting big hits, making key pitches, executing pinpoint plays. And across these last two nights in Texas, it was the Astros who did every one of these, the Yankees who came up wanting.

And so the plane heads east instead of west. There will be no World Series visiting Yankee Stadium next weekend for one last three-day holiday before summer finally takes down its shingle; summer is gone. We’re already well on the way to winter. No more chances to kid ourselves.

“At the end of the year, only one team goes home happy,” said Brett Gardner, the longest-serving Yankee of all. “And that’s not gonna be us.”

They had one chance to maybe turn the game-upside down, fifth inning, runners at the corners, Todd Frazier at the plate. Five nights earlier, back in the Bronx, Frazier faced Charlie Morton with two aboard and he cracked the ugliest, prettiest home run you ever saw to right field.

This time, the Yanks down 1-0, he chopped a slow roller to third. To all the world — certainly to the cuticle-chomping 43,201 inside Minute Maid Park — it seemed a certain tie game. Except third baseman Alex Bregman charged the ball, gloved it, and fired a perfect peg that nailed Bird at the plate.

“All in the throw,” said Frazier, himself a fine third baseman, marveling for a moment at the craftsmanship. Then, his mood darkened: “Maybe if I get that run in, we’re having a whole different conversation. Maybe that gets us going …”

His voice trailed off. He shook his head. Only one team goes home happy, and there was little happiness in this room. Across the way, Chase Headley was paying tribute to selfless teammates, which was perfect as he may have embodied the spirit of this team better than anyone, wordlessly absorbing benchings and position switches and lineup shifts all year.

“You hope that maybe you’re feeling this now,” he said, “so that maybe next year we won’t have to feel this way.”

That’s the way most people see it, of course, but there are no guarantees and so there is little reason to obsess. Not now. Not yet. The door opened again, and in the distance was more music. (“Tonight’s gonna be a good, good night …”) Life goes on. Baseball season goes on. Out west.

But the Yankees were headed east.

Source: http://nypost.com/2017/10/22/yankees-couldnt-conjure-up-enough-moments-in-this-game-7/

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