The 2013 MLB postseason will be without a regular participant: the New York Yankees.
The Yankees will miss the postseason for just the second time in 19 years after losing at home to their division rivals, The Tampa Bay Rays, 8-3 on Wednesday, per David Waldstein of the New York Times.
The last time New York failed to advance was in 2008, the year before the new Yankee Stadium was built in the Bronx.
The Rays all but put the game away in the top of the sixth inning — back-to-back home runs courtesy of Evan Longoria and David de Jesus off Andy Pettitte. Longoria launched a three-run shot while de Jesus hammered a solo shot to right field.
Phil Hughes wasn’t any much better on the mound for New York. He allowed three runs on seven hits in more than two innings of work. He suffered his 14th loss of the season.
ESPN New York reported on September 25 that the game was “likely was his final start with the Yankees.” Another Yankees pitcher, Joba Chamberlain, is likely to depart when he was seen cleaning out his locker room and putting his things in a large box prior to batting practice.
Chamberlain will be eligible for free agency after this season.
The Yankees were officially eliminated when the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago White Sox 7-2 at 10:16 p.m. EST, mere minutes away from New York’s last out against Tampa Bay.
The loss also ended the careers of Pettitte and legendary closer Mariano Rivera on a sour note. Pettitte will make his final start against the Houston Astros on Friday while Rivera will appear in his last game on Sunday.
The team actually was in a good position to secure an American League Wild Card spot on September 13, trailing the Rays by only a game. The Yankees then reeled off three consecutive losses to the Boston Red Sox, setting the stage for a 3-8 stretch that sealed their fate.
Yankees left fielder Vernon Wells couldn’t have put it more bluntly.
“In this game, you never want to make excuses. We gave ourselves enough opportunities to still be in this thing and to be in a much better situation that we are now over the course of the season. We did a lot better than expected, but those expectations came from the outside, not from in here.
“The series in Boston this month is the one that jumps out at everyone as the one that changed everything. We were playing with as much momentum as you could have and they still dominated us. It showed what that team is capable of doing. That was a pretty good right hook to the jaw.”
New York actually had a 30-18 record in the season’s early going but age and injuries caught up with them. They missed the services of Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixiera, Kevin Youkilis and Derek Jeter for the most part of the year.
Their offense sputtered considerably in 2013 after establishing a team record with 245 home runs in 2012. They wound up with only 143 this season which can be attributed to the losses of Russell Martin, Nick Swisher, Eric Chavez and Raul Ibanez.
Despite a league-high opening-day payroll of $230 million, the Yankees just couldn’t get it done.
“We didn’t get where we wanted to get,” was all manager Joe Girardi could say after the excruciating final out.