About Yesterday Afternoon: The Yankees Walloped the Rays 10-4
By Tim Kabel
September 12, 2022
*** The Yankees won a game they had to win on Saturday against the Rays, 10-3. They entered yesterday's game with a little bit of breathing room. They had a 4.5 game lead over the Rays, (three in the loss column), and had clinched the season series against the Rays. That is significant, because it could affect seeding for the playoffs. The Yankees could have continued their second half pattern of one step forward, one step back. They did not. They got off to an early start, scoring three runs in the first inning, and seven more in the second inning. They are a far cry from the team they were in the first half but, they are starting to win more consistently. That should be enough to win the division.
Oswaldo Cabrera had an outfield assist in the second inning. That gives him six, which is the most in the major leagues since he was recalled on August 17th.
Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres hit back-to-back home runs in the second inning. That is the fifteenth time the Yankees have done it this season, which is a single-season franchise record.
The Yankees’ lead over the Rays is 5.5 games, and 4 games in the loss column with 21 games to play. The Rays will play 8 games against the Blue Jays and 6 against the Astros. The Yankees’ grip on the division lead seems secure.
Aaron Judge had reached base safely three or more times, seven games in a row. The last Yankee to do that was Mickey Mantle in 1956.
On yesterday’s date in 1927, Babe Ruth his 50th home run on his way to a record 60 in a 6-2 loss to the St. Louis Browns.
The Big Story:
The Yankees’ collapse reached its nadir Friday night. Not only did they lose to the Rays 4-2. But their offensive malaise continued. The coup de gras in the exercise in mediocrity was the disgraceful play of Aaron Hicks. He literally gave up on a ball in the field and stood there as two runs scored. He then compounded things by misplaying the next ball, allowing yet another run to score. Remember, Aaron Hicks had been portrayed consistently as an important member of this team. One announcer after another would tell you how much the Yankees relied on him, and that his turnaround, which was always described as imminent, would be a major factor in the team's success. Well, none of those things are true. He has not been a key contributor. The only things he contributed were half-hearted effort, shock at his own ineptitude, a focus on his individual success over the team’s and a refusal to accept real responsibility. His behavior was very reminiscent of Luke Voit’s. It is not something that a winning team needs. The benching of Hicks was the figurative lancing of a boil. It sent a message to the team and the fans that effort, enthusiasm, and team spirit are important. I don't believe it's a coincidence the Yankees’ play has improved dramatically since then. The Yankees’ offense had averaged 3 runs a game in September through Friday night. They scored 10 runs in each of the last two games.
Player of the Game:
Gleyber Torres hit two home runs and drove in four runs.
Giancarlo Stanton hit a three-run home run. Oswaldo Cabrera hit a two-run home run, the first of his career, had an outfield assist, and made a fine catch. Clarke Schmidt pitched two scoreless innings, striking out four batters,
Better to Forget:
The offense struck out 11 times and left 19 runners on base.
The Yankees won this series against the Rays, as well as the season series. It appears as if the division lead is safe. Although, anything is possible. Despite the fact the Yankees dominated the Rays on Saturday and Sunday, there are some concerns. They still have a lot of injuries, and it is uncertain if all their key contributors will return. That is not the biggest concern, however.
Everyone has a socially awkward relative or friend, who seemingly always says or does the wrong thing at the wrong time. For example, asking if you had a nice time at a funeral. If you don't have one of those people in your life, you may be that person. Aaron Boone is that individual in the Yankees’ universe. He was hired, in large part, due to his reported ability to communicate. I don't know what happened after he was hired but, he has a great deal of difficulty expressing himself. Perhaps the Yankees should employ a translator who is fluent in gibberish and malarky to clarify his statements. It has been reported by some players that Boone barely talked to them. Communication is clearly an issue but, it is not the largest one.
Boone seems to be tone deaf when it comes to his managerial decisions. It appears as if he is managing from a deserted island with no actual knowledge or awareness of what is happening on the field. His bullpen maneuvers yesterday epitomize this. Greg Weissert, Wandy Peralta, and even Domingo German could have stayed in the game longer. Oswald Peraza was brought up to play, not to ride the bench. On another, relatively minor note, Ben Rortvedt was called up while Jose Trevino went on paternity leave. Rortvedt was injured throughout spring training and most of the regular season. He finally made it back, and this was his first appearance on the major league roster. Boone could not find one opportunity to get him in a game all weekend. You never know what can happen in a season and having him appear in a game might have been useful down the road. I detect an overall pattern of Boone not effectively managing or relating to young players.
We have all heard the expression, “he has his finger on the pulse of the team.” In Boone’s case, it is as if the team is wearing seven sweaters and he is wearing six pairs of gloves while trying to take the pulse. Yes, the Yankees won the game yesterday. They also won on Saturday. They were significant wins and the team won by a wide margin. Yet, Boone’s continued lack of connection to the team and the game on the field is an issue that could certainly haunt the Yankees as they head into the postseason.
Tuesday, the Yankees open a two-game series against the Red Sox in Boston at 7:10 PM. Boston’s Nick Pivetta (9-11 4.29 ERA) will face Gerrit Cole (11-7 3.20 ERA).