The New York Yankees haven’t been sailing smoothly for weeks now, if not months. Sometimes, the struggles seem to compound; when one offensive player can’t get rolling, his seven non-Aaron Judge teammates often follow.
Sometimes, the struggles are cosmic, though, and it feels as if every force on the field is working in conjunction to make sure the Yankees do not succeed. Monday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays already feels like one of those.
With the game scoreless in the bottom of the third inning, Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo and his stiff back was struck by a 1-2 pitch from Ryan Yarbrough that bent behind him, wrapping around and striking him on the hip.
Immediately, without even giving the visuals time to marinate, home plate umpire DJ Reyburn waved the contact off and forced Rizzo to stay at the plate. While Reyburn’s intentions were noble — gotta stop that leaning SOB right in his tracks, huh? — he ignored the fact that the pitch passed home plate behind Rizzo, and there was nowhere for the first baseman to go unless he’d snapped his fingers and disappeared.
Much the same way this Yankees team spent the first half discovering new ways to win, they’re using the second half to innovate in the realm of losing. Based on Monday’s action, the league’s umpires are in on the joke, too.
Yankees’ Anthony Rizzo flips out after umpire DJ Reyburn rules his HBP shouldn’t count
The Yankees never hit Yarbrough anyway. This won’t help.
Rizzo getting hit by the pitch would’ve nudged a runner into scoring position for Josh Donaldson, so perhaps it wouldn’t have been worth the trouble anyway.
There was no logical reason to wipe this HBP off the board, though, and Rizzo reacted with his best Brett Gardner impression in the dugout after striking out.
Luckily, the universe karmically repaid the Yankees here by — oh, no, wait, no it didn’t. Things didn’t work out, and the first batter of the third resulted in some horrific work by Aaron Hicks that allowed the first run of the game to reach third base, then quickly cross the plate.
The 2022 New York Yankees have, for whatever reason, resided in hell since mid-July. Sadly, the affable Rizzo has now been sucked up in the vortex.