The New York Yankees were shut out for the second straight game on Monday night against the Tampa Bay Rays, a home battle in which they had Gerrit Cole on the mound against opener Jalen Beeks/Ryan Yarbrough. No matter! They very much managed to lose anyway, despite overwhelming energy pointing in the other direction.
Dating back to Friday night in Boston (!), New York is 1-3 since the start of their AL East stretch, and haven’t scored a run off anyone’s bat other than Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s since Aaron Judge’s solo homer in the fourth inning during the series opener with the Sox.
In other words, you can point the finger at a lot of people for this brutal stretch within a brutal stretch, like a brutal stretch pig in a blanket. It would also take a lot of gaffes for one, singular player to rise above the rest and take the blame. That is exactly what Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks managed to accomplish on Monday.
The disaster started when Hicks went back on a fly ball to lead off the fourth in a scoreless game. Considering the Yankees are scoreless more often than not these days, any run on the board for the opponent is a pretty big deal.
This one scored on a single, right after Hicks wandered back towards the wall, flipped once, flipped twice, and flailed like a video game character when the controller battery is low. David Peralta chugged into third with a “triple,” and Gerrit Cole was tagged with an “earned run” that should’ve driven Hicks’ ERA to infinity instead.
Yankees’ Aaron Hicks might need to find a new profession
Well, at least it didn’t get worse. At least that one run wasn’t the difference in the game and the winning ru–oh, no. You must be kidding. Before things unraveled in the ninth, it was the only run scored in the contest, sending fans deeper into hysteria.
The Yankees had a shot to claw back into the contest immediately, though, and they brought out the big bats for this rally: single, bunt (runner safe), bunt (lead runner thrown out), bloop single … Hicks.
You’ll never guess what happened next.
Not even a full-throated double play, either. The meekest, wimpiest, accidental little squibber directly to the pitcher. A beautiful holiday gift for a Tampa Bay Rays arm in need.
Hicks is the gift that keeps on giving, and will keep on giving through 2025, if the Yankees don’t find a way to attach prospects and move his contract this offseason. The deal is affordable! The production is unwatchable.
There was a time, not too long ago, when Hicks was being lauded for dragging himself into above-average territory. He homered and styled against the Astros (just before everything went downhill). He hit his ceiling at Fenway Park, just before the break.
Since that series, he has yet to record an extra-base hit (July 9, to be exact). He has created at least one, though, with his center field defense. Sadly, those two things don’t even out, and Hicks has officially turned the inactive Harrison Bader into the Yankees’ most popular player.