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.
From starting in his third career All-Star Game to showing up on baseball’s biggest stages this season, Aaron Judge has done everything in his power to prove he belongs in the conversation for the American League’s Most Valuable Player Award.
If it wasn’t for Tim Anderson’s walk-off home run into an Iowa cornfield this past Thursday, Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge would have been the topic of conversation after Major League Baseball’s first ever “Field of Dreams” game — which saw four home runs hit by MLBbros.
Judge invigorated the Yankees dugout after hitting his second home run of the game, a two-run shot that cut the White Sox lead to 7-6 before Giancarlo Stanton’s homer later that inning would give them the lead.
Then came this past Saturday night: If you have been living under a rock, you should know that the White Sox now run the Windy City, and with the team on the North side in rebuild mode, they have become the city’s main attraction.
Fans have packed the park in almost every game since the All-Star break.
That made for a hostile environment in the second game of the series between the Yankees and Sox, but it didn’t phase the unflappably Judge showed who came up colossal once again.
He smoked an 8th-inning fastball 114 MPH over the center field wall for a go-ahead homer in a game the Bronx Bombers would win in extras.
After many thought this would turn out to be a wasted season in the Empire State, the Yankees have stormed back in the standings over the last month as they are now just 5.5 games behind the Rays for first place in the American League East and just 2.5 games back of a spot in the Wild Card play in game.
Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge are the keys to the Yankees entertaining any playoff hopes.
After losing 13 of their previous 18 games, the Yankees are 7-2 in their last 9, and have won three consecutive series; knocking off Toronto, Oakland, and with their 8-1 win on Thursday, the Kansas City Royals.
For New York, it’s the team’s most successful run since the Yankees won seven straight series from April 30 through May 23, going 17-5. At that point, New York was 11 games over .500 and just a half-game out of first place in the American League East.
This most recent stretch of success has brought the Yankees into a range of the leaders in the race for both the division and the Wild Card; trailing Boston by four and fellow division rival Tampa Bay by 3.5 games respectively.
Steering the Yankees back into the right direction has been the team’s towering titans. Over this nine-game run, they’ve hit a combined .292, with two home runs, eight RBI, nine runs scored, and sixteen walks.
They’ve been even better over their last six games.
Both bashers are hitting .333, with Judge leading the team in hits (8) and runs scored (6), and Stanton setting the pace with eight walks. Stanton’s 28 walks this season are more than his total of 27 over the past two seasons.
What’s been even more important is that they’ve been able to be productive without generating a lot of power.
The duo has combined for only two home runs and two doubles during these nine games, and yet they’ve still managed to account for nearly 20 percent of the Yankees’ runs and RBI.
Thursday, Judge went 3-3, scoring three runs, with two RBI, two walks, and he hit his 16th homer of the season. It was his first three-hit game since May 1. New York improved to 10-3 when he goes yard. It’s been documented just how important his power is to the Yankees offense, and if it’s returning, that’s a fantastic sign for his team.
Aaron Judge breaks out of a little slump to put the Yankees ahead 1-0 in the first inning with a home run! pic.twitter.com/lCSJYKBwyH
“[I’m] feeling good,” Judge said to reporters after the game. “Making a couple of adjustments to get my body in a better position to swing. I’ve kind of been feeling like I’ve been swinging underwater. But I was seeing the ball well.”
When Judge is seeing the ball well, it’s usually flying off of his bat. That was the case against KC. His RBI single in the second inning was moving at a cool 109.3 miles per hour.
Stanton was 3-5, and his single in the eighth inning drove in Judge, helping him stay one behind number 99 for the team’s RBI lead.