About Yesterday Afternoon: The Yankees Outlast the Brewers 12-8.
by Tim Kabel
September 19, 2022 ***
The Yankees salvaged the final game of the series with the Brewers. They also cut the magic number to clinch to 11 over the Blue Jays. The magic number over the Rays remains at 11. The pitching was shaky but, the offense produced five home runs and a dozen runs. The Yankees staggered through the slugfest and emerged with a win. It wasn’t pretty but, we will take it.
Heading into yesterday’s game the Yankees were hitting .135 with runners in scoring position in their previous four games.
For the third game in a row, the Brewers hit a three-run home run off the Yankees’ starting pitcher.
Gerrit Cole has now given up 29 home runs this season, which is the second most in the major leagues.
Aaron Judge had his 11th multiple home run game of the season, tying Hank Greenberg and Sammy Sosa for the major league record.
On yesterday’s date in 1930, Yankees’ starting pitcher, Red Ruffing hit two home runs in the Yankees’ 7-6 win. It is highly unlikely that this will ever happen again.
The Big Story:
The end of the season is around the corner. The Yankees are going to make the playoffs and will most likely win the division. If they whittle away at the magic number to clinch, while they play games against the Pirates and the Red Sox, the series against Toronto that begins next Monday will have little drama attached to it. That should be one of the goals of this team.
Yesterday, Anthony Rizzo returned from the IL. On Tuesday, Harrison Bader is slated to make his Yankees’ debut. Other players will be returning, and the Yankees need to fine-tune the team headed into the playoffs.
Yesterday, Gerrit Cole looked shaky. He has looked shaky many times this season. On Friday night, Frankie Montas was dreadful. On Saturday, Jameson Taillon was not very good. If they head into the playoffs with three-quarters of the rotation being shaky or mediocre, they won't last long. The team started off the season extremely well. Then, they were awful for a long stretch. None of that will matter when the playoffs start.
The Yankees need to return to something close to the form they exhibited at the beginning of the year if they want to win the World Series. The identity of this year's team has been a lot like Woody Allen in Zelig. They can be anything. They can look like they are ready to win the World Series, or they can appear to be the worst team in baseball. Much like Mr. Allen in Zelig, the Yankees should huddle together under pictures of the 1998 and 1927 World Series championship teams and hope that they can emulate them.
Player of the Game:
Aaron Judge hit two home runs, giving him 59 for the season, and drove in four runs.
Anthony Rizzo and Oswaldo Cabrera each had three hits, including a home run. It was Rizzo's first game back from the IL.
Better to Forge:
The pitching performances, especially those of Gerrit Cole and Wandy Peralta.
I'm not trying to sound like an old fogie but, I have noticed an alarming trend over the past several years of people refusing to accept responsibility. As part of my job working for the state child protection agency, I have encountered hundreds of young people. One time, I was in court with a young man, who was facing delinquency charges. He had been given an assessment by the court and I was reviewing his answers with him. The young fellow stated that if he went into a store and stole something, it would not be his fault. He would not be guilty. He ascribed the blame to the people working in the store. He said it was their job to catch him. If they didn't, it was on them. Sadly, this young man’s attitude and perception were in line with many people today.
I read an article yesterday morning in which Aaron Hicks discussed his future with the Yankees. He stated that he expected his playing time to be diminished once Harrison Bader returns from the IL. That led to the following quotes:
“When I get opportunities, I’ll try to make the most of them, but it's extremely hard when I play a game and then I'm off for three days and now there's another outfielder out there."
“As of right now, I feel the more I play, the better I'm gonna play. That's not what's going on right now. Things are tough in New York. I don't have an answer. If they feel this isn't the right fit for me, that's their call. If I do go to another team, I know I can help them win."
When discussing former teammate Joey Gallo’s success with the Dodgers, Hicks added these words of wisdom:
“Joey started to play better with the Dodgers, and I saw on a podcast that Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts played a big part of that, with him wanting to get the most out of his players."
Hicks also talked about his plans for his off-season conditioning. Apparently, he feels he is too light.
“I wanted to get faster and healthy, but me playing at 200 pounds isn't it. I haven't been impacting the ball like I wanted to. It's really showed, with my power down. I wanted to be quicker, and it didn't work out that way."
As dreadful as Hicks has been, his delusional take on things is even more concerning. He blamed New York, the other outfielders, inconsistent playing time, Aaron Boone and his own waif-like appearance on his hideous season. Let’s take a look at this.
As of yesterday, Hicks has played in 120 games, 10 fewer than both Gleyber Torres and Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and one more than Josh Donaldson. Hicks has been awful all year long. He ranks among the worst players in the game. For some unknown reason, Aaron Boone has insisted on trotting him out on the field day after day. Many people have used that fact to criticize Boone. Yet, Hicks feels slighted and blames Boone for not playing him enough. He turned on Boone like Cujo. I rarely defend Boone but, Hicks’ comments on this are hogwash.
As far as Hicks being too slender and whippet-like in his appearance, Oswaldo Cabrera is thinner than Hicks, and he hit a ball 420 feet yesterday. Apparently, Hicks wolfed down a few foot-long subs between innings yesterday, because he hit a home run. After watching Hicks fumble around in the outfield this season, I can’t wait to see him when he looks like the late Orson Welles when he was hawking Paul Masson wine.
The point is that Hicks takes no responsibility. He blames everyone and everything for his failures. He seems to perceive himself as a star player who is not reaching his potential because he is being treated unfairly and denied opportunities and because New York is such a tough place to play.
Thank goodness, the Yankees have Aaron Judge. In addition to his awesome talent, his attitude is the antithesis of Hicks’. Judge consistently and sincerely puts the team first. He says that if he thinks about his home runs or batting average, he is not focusing on the team’s success. This shows you how special Judge is. Sadly, he is a free agent. Hicks is under contract for three more years. We may be reduced to seeing Hicks playing centerfield next year at 327 pounds, slurping on a goblet of wine and munching on a turkey leg while he says, “I will catch no ball before it’s time.”
Tuesday, the Yankees open a two-game series against the Pirates at home at 7:05 PM. Nestor Cortes (10-4 2.70 ERA) will face an unannounced starter for Pittsburgh.