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  • Tim Kabel

About Last Night: The Yankees Lose to the Rays 4-2

by Tim Kabel

September 10, 2022


The Yankees are decimated by injuries. They played last night's game with a patchwork lineup. Lately, they have been having trouble scoring runs even with the regulars in the game. With this group, runs were definitely at a premium. They were losing 1-0 in the fourth inning, when Aaron Hicks single-handedly gave the game away.

There were runners on first and second with two outs, when a ball was hit to left field by Wander Franco. Hicks ran toward the foul line, put his glove up and the ball bounced in and out of his glove. It was in his glove! He should have caught it. It would have ended the inning. That wasn't bad enough. He dropped his hands to his side, looked down at the ground and acted like a disgruntled little leaguer. By the time, he realized the ball was fair and he should do something, two runs scored. The next batter, Randy Arozarena, hit a line drive to left field. Hicks did a reprise of his impression of Julie Andrews twirling around on the mountain in The Sound of Music from a few weeks ago, and the ball went over his head as he flailed his arms helplessly and haplessly. If Hicks held onto the ball Franco hit, the score would have been 1-0. These two plays made the score 4-0. The Yankees couldn't recover from that. That series of plays by Hicks was one of the most embarrassing things I have ever seen in a baseball game on any level.

The loss spoiled a wonderful night on which the team honored Derek Jeter’s induction into the Hall of Fame. Two things stood out to me from the ceremony. First, seeing Derek Jeter, who was always in control of every situation, lovingly upstaged by his daughters was endearing. Second, he stated he intends to be around the Yankees a lot more in the future. That can only be good news.

Quick Stats:

  • The Yankees entered the game last night with 10 pitchers and 5 position players on the IL. They had two more position players on the paternity list. I’m surprised they didn’t have Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Tino Martinez, Andy Pettitte, and CC Sabathia suit up after the ceremony.

  • After last night’s game, the Yankees have 23 games remaining. They would need to win 17 games reach 100 victories. The way they are playing, that is extremely unlikely. At one point, the Yankees were on pace to win 122 games.

  • The Yankees’ lead over the Rays is down to 3.5 games, and 2 games in the loss column.

  • Aaron Judge drove in his 119th run.

  • On yesterday’s date in 1961, Roger Maris his 56th home run off Mudcat Grant as the Yankees beat the Cleveland Indians 8-7.

The Big Story:

The Yankees’ collapse continues. If you just came in to watch the Yankees play the Rays last weekend and this weekend, without any knowledge of what the standings were, you would believe the Rays were the first-place team. You also would not believe the Yankees were the second-place team; you would think they were the last-place team. What happened at the beginning of the year is irrelevant now. It does not look as if the Yankees will be able to pull out of this nosedive. At this point, the injuries are a major factor. The Yankees were missing several key players, and Giancarlo Stanton could only pinch-hit last night. However, the Yankees have been struggling over the entire second half of the season. It is not all due to injuries. This is a monumental collapse. This is all four tires blowing out at the same time in a torrential downpour. It would be hard for things to be worse.

Player of the Game:

Kyle Higashioka had three hits, including a home run.

Notable Performances:

Aaron Judge and Miguel Andujar each had two hits. Oswald Peraza used his excellent speed and an extremely elusive slide to score the Yankees’ first run on Aaron Judge’s single in the seventh inning.

Better to Forget:

The offense struck out 11 times and left 19 runners on base.

My Take:

Because this week, Aaron Hicks had his first double in about a month, it led to the knee-jerk reaction of media, broadcasters, and some fans, saying that he was turning his season around. I believe Aaron Hicks’s perceptions of himself, his abilities, and the season he is having are not grounded in reality. He has stated on many occasions that being booed by the fans is, if not unique to New York, is, much more common there. He seems to think the booing he receives is unwarranted. Remember, at the beginning of the season, he predicted a 30-home run, 30-stolen base season. He has six home runs and nine stolen bases. He is batting .212 and has 15 extra-base hits on the season. Prior to his defensive disaster in the fourth inning, he struck out twice.

Aaron Hicks is not a rookie. He is not Estevan Florial or Oswaldo Cabrera, trying to find their way in the major leagues. He is a proven major leaguer, whom the Yankees signed to a seven-year extension after his one big year. By the way, Oswaldo Cabrera, in a handful of games, has more outfield assists (with five) than Aaron Hicks does, with three. After Hicks’s debacle in the fourth inning, Aaron Boone pulled him from the game. Boone stated it was not punitive, and that he removed Hicks because his head was not in the right place. Hicks felt it was punitive. He stated, after the game, “I was benched, and that's rough.” He felt he should have been given an opportunity to make amends. With his skill set, it would be impossible to make amends.

At this point, there's no reason for Aaron Hicks to play in the remaining 23 games, unless someone is hurt or desperately needs a day off. The Yankees could play Tim Locastro, Miguel Andujar, or Estevan Florial in the outfield instead of him. Soon, Harrison Bader may be available. Estevan Florial may not prove to be a major league hitter. However, he might. The jury is still out. The same applies to Oswaldo Cabrera, although he has shown some flashes of the talent he exhibited regularly in the minor leagues. The jury is not out on Aaron Hicks. They have reached the verdict. He serves no purpose as a regular player. He definitely should not be on the postseason roster. In fact, in the offseason, he should be designated for assignment. It would be absurd to give him a roster spot that could go to someone else who could help the team much more than he could, especially when you consider he is under contract for three more years. I know it is a financial hit but, that is better than carrying him. After the game, some of the announcers had the temerity to discuss what Hicks needs to do moving forward to help the team. The answer is simple: sit on the bench and try not to say anything ridiculous or self-serving when he talks to the reporters. Consider this the end of an error.

Next Up:

This afternoon, the Yankees play the second game in the three-game series against the Rays at home at 1:05 PM. Tampa Bay’s Corey Kluber (10-7 4.00 ERA) will face Jameson Taillon (12-4 3.95 ERA).

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