Anyone who's ever played baseball or spent any time around the sport has heard the phrase, "game of inches." They teach you to sprint down the line and not look at the ball, cause those tiny milliseconds can be the difference. Taking a shorter lunge towards first base can be the difference between safe and out. Just ask Gleyber Torres.

Too little, too late

The New York Yankees rookie, All-Star second baseman strolled to the plate with two on, two out, trailing by one. The Yankees, having their backs against the wall, scored twice in the ninth to cut the deficit to one. Then came Torres, who is a Yankee star already.

Based on stats provided by Baseball Reference, Gleyber Torres seemingly excelled in the clutch.

With two outs and a runner in scoring position, Torres batted .313 with four home runs, including the walk-off below. In the "Late & Close" category, he also hit .313 and had two home runs. When the game was tied, he hit .341 Within one run, it jumped to .344. At two runs, it's still a .318 batting average. At three and four runs, it was .279 and .280, respectively. Still good numbers. In fact, by most metrics, he was the Yankees most clutch hitter.

But before the youngest Yankee stepped into the batter's box, the Yankees started the inning down 4-1 after mustering up a sacrifice fly against Rick Porcello, Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, and Chris Sale (yes, that Chris Sale). They had only four hits after getting just five hits and a run the night before.

It started with an Aaron Judge walk, as most Yankee rallies start with Aaron Judge.

It was followed by a Didi Gregorius grounder that snuck through the left side. Suddenly, the Yankees had a life. Slugger Giancarlo Stanton stepped in as the tying run and proceeded to strike out. Luke Voit, who had a propensity for clutch home runs, stepped in and walked to load the bases.

Aaron Boone elected to stick with Neil Walker, leaving stud rookie Miguel Andùjar (who has two grand slams, one off the bench, this season). It mostly worked, with Walker taking a pitch to the ankle and forcing home a run. But what would have happened if he'd gotten a full at-bat? The world may never know.

In stepped Gary Sanchez. Sanchez had an abysmal regular season, offensively and defensively. He led the majors in passed balls, despite missing 73 games, and had a batting average under .200. In game two, he started to rewrite the script with two home runs, one literally leaving the ballpark. After falling behind 0-2, Sanchez battled back and lifted a 3-2 pitch high and deep to left. Statcast recorded it at 346 feet (the fence there is roughly 348-350), with a 22 percent hit chance at 107.1 mph.

Just missed.

Then came young Gleyber Torres, the tying run at second base, with two outs. On a 1-2 pitch, he hit a slow roller to Eduardo Nunez at third (who has had problems fielding and throwing this series) who threw to first and recorded the out by a literal few inches (remember what they say about baseball?).

Season over. Maybe, in hindsight, having a rookie up in the biggest do or die at-bat of his life was too much for him. The clutch stats say there wasn't really anyone else who would have been better suited. Just a touch slow, and a touch unlucky.

What's next

The Red Sox move on to face the Houston Astros in the ALCS. The two met last season in the ALDS, with the Astros taking three of four from the Red Sox en route to a World Series championship. The Yankees are left at home, pondering what could have been if Torres was safe.

Last offseason, after losing games six and seven to the Astros, they fired their manager and traded for the National League MVP. I think it's fairly safe to say that Aaron Boone will not be job hunting this offseason. As for offseason additions, Manny Machado and Bryce Harper are two upcoming free agents who may suit up for the Yankees.

Bryce Harper is rumored to the Yankees based on their salary cap, and Manny Machado has expressed that he would like playing in pinstripes.

In what could have been their final Yankee games, C.C. Sabathia and Brett Gardner become free agents this offseason. C.C. went three innings and allowed three runs, while Gardner went 0-1 with an RBI.

The team will have to decide what to do with both Sabathia and Gardner, as well as Neil Walker and midseason trade acquisitions J.A. Happ, coming from the Blue Jays, Zach Britton, Andrew McCutchen, and Adeiny Hechevarria. It's shaping up to be a busy offseason for the Yankees.