The New York Yankees went from up 5-3 to down 6-5 over the course of a roller coaster sixth inning on Thursday at Camden Yards. Much of the blame for the inning’s trajectory falls on Aaron Hicks’ shoulders, as it has far too often in 2022.
After an hour and a half of jokes about the left-field wall, things got far more serious in the sixth, as Hicks came to the plate with the bases loaded, one out and a deadlocked contest in the inning’s top half.
He battled back to push the count to 3-2, then swung and missed at Ball 4, extending his ignominious record with the bases loaded to 7-for-56 career. Isiah Kiner-Falefa bailed him out with a two-run single to break the tie (temporarily), but the damage was done.
In the bottom half of the inning, there was no one left to save Hicks, though.
Chad Green entered this one after three brutal Miguel Castro at-bats (walk, catcher’s interference, run-scoring single), and whiffed Robinson Chirinos to flip the momentum slightly. Unfortunately, Cedric Mullins rocked a fly ball to center to even the score with a deep sac fly, a puzzle Hicks couldn’t seem to solve.
First, he came in. Then, he drifted back, striking fear into the hearts of fans. Somehow, he came up with the ball on the track, but lackadaisically threw it back towards the infield after composing himself … which allowed Tyler Nevin to tag up, then score on a Rougned Odor single.
That never would’ve happened without Hicks’ negligence, which Cameron Maybin was unafraid to pinpoint on the broadcast.
Yankees’ Aaron Hicks blows game vs Orioles on offense, defense
A classic Jordan Montgomery Yankees game, folks! The team always finds a way to win … unless Montgomery is on the mound. It’s incredible.
Hicks is mired in the midst of an offensive slump, which happens to the best of ’em, but his defense/urgency/routes/whole package has been untenable this season. If a player like Hicks — who’s previously been an elite center fielder with a cannon arm — can no longer deliver offensively, the least he can provide is defense.
And the real least he can do is look prepared and exude preparedness. Kudos to Maybin for calling out the assumption that Nevin wouldn’t tag, which led to more disaster.
Even worse? Green came up injured prior to the inning ending, exiting the game with “right forearm discomfort”. In a season filled with so much joy, this inning was a microcosm throwback to 2021, complete with devastating injury and perplexing gaffes. Kudos to Maybin for having the heart to call it out.