Yankees: Hicks injects a dose of energy as Bombers rally for win
The Yankees have been looking for the spark that could light a fire. They may have found just the guy they need as the team rallies for a 5-4 win over the stunned Boston Red Sox.
The Yankees survived last night. Survived, because for seven innings they looked like the team of late offensively with a big fat zero in the runs column on the scoreboard.
Survived, because even when Aaron Hicks injected the team with a dose of lone energy with a two run blast in the eighth inning, followed by a sacrifice fly by Ronald Torreyes driving home the eventual winning run, they still almost blew the game.
Check that, Aroldis Chapman almost blew the game singlehandedly. Walking the bases loaded with no one out, Chapman needed the services provided by Hicks again for a bailout.
Luckily, the game turned on a sacrifice fly to deep left by Andrew Benintendi that scored a run for Boston, but when Eduardo Nunez tried to make it from second to third, he was cut down by a perfect one-hop throw from Hicks and tag by Todd Frazier.
Chapman still had some drama left in him, though, as Mitch Moreland ended the game on a fly ball to deep center that easily would have scored Nunez with the tying run from third.
Other than that, it was pretty much business as usual for the Yankees. They still lead the majors in runners left on base since the All Star break with 210, including the eight who didn’t score last night.
A win is a win is a win
But hey, a win is a win, and 3.5 back is a lot better than 5.5, which is where the Yankees would have been without the heroics of Hicks.
Making his second start in Pinstripes, Jamie Garcia was erratic and lacked command of any of his pitches. Still, he allowed only three runs in 5.2 innings, keeping the game within reach by the Yankees.
In full playoff mode, Joe Girardi started Austin Romine behind the plate, with Gary Sanchez as his DH. Against the lefty, Eduardo Rodriguez, Girardi also did not start Brett Gardner, with Hicks taking his spot in left field.
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With their eyes wide open and a solid chance to take the second game today when Luis Severino makes the start, the Yankees can see that the Red Sox are not as good as their eight-game win streak, which ended last night.
The team in Boston is also not as fearless as they are sometimes hyped to be, especially without the presence of Big Papi, David Ortiz, in their lineup. They are a team much like the Yankees with some good players, one four-star pitcher, and a season behind them of ups and downs.
Which is the reason why this series between the two teams is so compelling and entertaining? There are no splits in a three-game series, and one of the two teams is going home as either a winner or loser on Sunday night.
A Turning Point? We’ll See
Call it a confidence builder, perhaps. But the Yankees need something which breaks the spell of mediocrity they’ve been fighting. Something that pushes them ahead to the four game set against the Mets with optimism built on momentum.
The Yankees team that entered the Stadium last night is still the same team that left it. Aaron Judge is still not hitting. Starlin Castro is still rehabbing. And Joe Girardi still finds it necessary to bat Didi Gregorius in the cleanup spot.
But at the same time, seeing a fired up Hicks, who missed 40 games, coming back with drive and vigor and, most of all, production, should be enough to tell someone like Judge he doesn’t need to do it all.
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Put a star on the August 11 date on the calendar. We’ll see, but it feels like it could be the start of something good.