The New York Yankees entered Sunday’s finale against the St. Louis Cardinals in the midst of a four-game losing streak. They’re exiting the game down one manager (temporarily), and plus a whole bunch of questions they wish they didn’t have to answer.
Sunday’s game at Busch Stadium isn’t unique. It isn’t 2022’s only Umpire Show, and this particular addition struck both sides powerfully. Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright’s second inning was nearly derailed because home plate umpire Ed Hickox couldn’t seem to understand his curveball, fooled once by Josh Donaldson ducking into calling a strike down the middle a ball.
Then came Aaron Boone’s boiling point, which came down 6-4 in the fifth inning thanks to Frankie Montas’ shaky control and early-inning meltdown. The Yankees once held a 4-1 lead in this contest, for a few minutes, but had gagged it away at record speed. Before the game, Boone and the Yankees wanted to stop their slide; midway through, they were utterly desperate.
And that was when Hickox reared his ugly head yet again. With the bases loaded and no outs, Yankees shortstop Marwin Gonzalez faced a 3-1 count. He fouled off a ball below the zone for strike two, then took a curve that looped around the plate for Ball 4 …
… except he didn’t. Strike three called on a pitch any batter would’ve been laughed at for taking a hack in the general direction of.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone ejected vs Cardinals, umpire Ed Hickox is terrible
After DJ LeMahieu struck out, it appeared the inning would be extinguished entirely by the whims of the man behind home plate.
Mercifully, Aaron Judge tagged a two-out, two-run double to center to briefly equalize things, at which point Boone got a few things off his chest, winning the race with Cardinals manager Oli Marmol to get tossed first after Matt Carpenter struck out on exclusively balls.
A hilarious quote that perfectly summed up, with a few expletives included, what a poor effort a sold-out Sunday crowd has been forced to witness.
The Yankees are mired in trouble, with a tired rotation sans-Jordan Montgomery, who shoved through cramps on Saturday. When they score, their pitchers can’t hold the fort. When the pitching comes through (which, somehow, Domingo German did Saturday), they can’t punch a ball through the infield. And when the umpire’s woefully incorrect, it hurts both teams, but only crushes the Yankees.
We’ll see you in Seattle. We’ll be sleepless ’til then.