Going into Game 2 of the ALDS, the Cleveland Guardians did not want to go down 0-2 to the New York Yankees. And Cleveland was able to get the job done on the road and tie the series up at 1-1 with a 4-2 extra innings win over the Yankees.
Josh Naylor finished with a multi-hit game and had a big rip in the top of the 10th to help give the Guardians the crucial dub. He finished going 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Cleveland trailed the Yankees 2-0 until the fifth inning when Tito Francona’s pesky squad tied it up. It wasn’t until the 10th inning, that the Guardians took control of the game offensively. Jose Ramirez got things started with a double. He would then score on a single from Oscar Gonzalez.
Naylor followed it up with an RBI double to give Cleveland a 4-2 lead.
Naylor was asked about his eight-pitch, 10th-inning at bat by MLB Network’s Lauren Shehadi.
“Just trying to put the ball in play and hit something solid,” Naylor said on the field after the extra innings win. Hes a good pitcher, just had to wait him out. I think our game plan that inning was to get runners on base and just move them along any way we could. I got a pitch to drive and thank God that I did.”
In the first game, Naylor did not record a hit, so this is a good sign for Cleveland fans. When Naylor gets hot at the plate, he’s a brother opposing pitchers don’t want any part of.
With the series now going to Cleveland, look for Naylor to step up in front of his home crowd.
The New York Yankees offense disappeared in a surprising 4-2 extra innings loss to the Cleveland Guardians. Outside of a two-run shot from Giancarlo Stanton in the first inning, the rest of the roster had trouble putting bat on ball. The Guardians struck out 15 Yankees in the game. Notably, Oswald Cabrera had three Ks in a 0-5 performance.
With the series going back to Cleveland, it’s time to start asking the question…Is it time to give MLBro Aaron Hicks a chance to start again?
While the Yankees struggle for offense in this ALDS matchup against the Cleveland Guardians, Aaron Hicks has been M.I.A. since the series started. Even though he was added to the playoff roster, the move was clearly made based more on Hicks’ potential rather than reputation or production.
MLBbro.com showcases the Black and Brown players of Major League Baseball, but we do provide realistic breakdowns on the players as well. Aaron Hicks has played underwhelming baseball during this 2022 season. Things really went south following an above-average 30 game stretch early in the season. Hicks floundered while Yankees fans were enamored with the record setting exploits of Aaron Judge.
They spent the rest of the season rolling their eyes at the struggles of Aaron Hicks. Judge surprised the baseball world with his dominance that almost landed him a Triple Crown, while Hicks disappointed everyone in what was supposed to be a potential 30/30 season. To say that he came up short is a mild understatement. His failures also broke up the only All-Black outfield in MLB (When Stanton isn’t DH).
His eight-homer, 40 RBI performance was accompanied by a .216 batting average with 109 strikeouts in 384 at bats. While Aaron Judge blocked the distractions of his contract extension, Hicks let the pressure get to him to the point where the sure-handed fielder allowed his struggles at the plate to affect his play on the field.
This incident on Derek Jeter Hall of Fame night is what probably sealed his fate and permanently cost him his job.
Then another misplay in the outfield immediately afterwards was enough for Yankees manager Aaron Boone to bench Hicks off and on for the rest of the season.
Reasons for the move?
He deserved the benching, and the Yankees fan base was all over him which was affecting his confidence and compounding his struggles.
But the issues in early September have not stopped Aaron Hicks from wondering about his future when he shared his thoughts with The New York Post after New York acquired Harrison Bader from the St. Louis Cardinals…
“I expect [Bader] to come in and start playing every day as he should,” Hicks said back then. “He got traded here to help us win. We need him to be himself to win a World Series. 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.”
“I don’t know. The Yankees are gonna have to make a decision and I’ll wait for whatever happens. It’s not really my call.”
Our MLBbro appears to be pining for a situation like Joey Gallo, who was sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers, but even that discussion has an interesting context attached to it.
“Joey started to play better with the Dodgers and I saw on [a] podcast that [Los Angeles manager] Dave Roberts played a big part of that, with him wanting to get the most out of his players.”
“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.”
At this point, our MLBbro needs to focus on staying ready and continuing to do the work behind the scenes with his pre-game routine. Something that he has done and will probably be even more appreciated after the incident with Aroldis Chapman just before the playoffs began.
Our MLBbro may need to get ready to contribute Saturday night in Cleveland. In the 10th inning, both Bader and Cabrera struggled making plays in the field that contributed to the loss. Sometimes the answer to your problems is right there under your nose. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, to borrow from an old cliche. Baseball is a game of streaks as we know all too well. With fellow MLBbro Aaron Judge struggling out of the gate, the Yankees may need to bring this veteran off the bench to provide some pop.
Maybe it’s time for Hicks to get hot. Hopefully, Aaron Boone doesn’t wait until it’s too late to exhaust all options.