When Ronald Guzmán’s Wednesday with the Yankees began, he was a red-hot Triple-A first baseman trying to fill Anthony Rizzo’s void in the Bronx temporarily. He was also given a golden opportunity to make his mark, placed in the cleanup hole against all logic and reason.
When his Wednesday ended? His team was two wins richer, but his moment in the sun had gone more like Icarus’ than Shane Spencer’s.
Guzmán, asked to protect literally Gleyber Torres and Aaron Judge in the sleepy Game 1 lineup, started his Yankees career in front of what appeared to be 38 people, 31 of whom were direct family members of Minnesota’s starter Louie Varland.
It started off … alright. The 27-year-old with big-league experience (not a true rookie or someone shivering his timbers) made a diving stab in the third, at which point the game felt like an exhibition contest loss where both sides were going through the motions. No one was watching. Domingo Germán was already down. The lineup was simming to the ninth. Guzman was probably going to be able to sneak by unnoticed.
But then, the game flipped. Aaron Judge was given a pitch to hit — and, naturally, he deposited it into the left-field seats. Gleyber Torres tied the game. Time marched on with the Manfred Runner through the 10th and top of the next inning.
Unfortunately, when Guzmán’s number came up with the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the 11th, he had the most embarrassing moment he could’ve, and everyone sort of realized at the same time, “Oh, no, this whole thing was historically bad.”
Yankees’ Ronald Guzman may never see field again in the Bronx
Yes, Guzmán struck out four times rather quietly before grounding into an historically painful double play to nearly execute a loss all by his lonesome. If Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Jose Trevino, Greg Weissert and Oswaldo Cabrera hadn’t banded together in the 12th, Guzmán’s slow-footed twin-killing would still be the talk of the town.
Prior to the at-bat, a foul ball struck Guzmán’s foot in the on-deck circle, which was clear from inside the stadium, but likely not shown on television, based on the reaction from the Twitterverse. After a Torres walk, Guzmán worked a 1-2 count from Michael Fulmer to 3-2, then created a one-pitch mood swing that can only be described as a Three Stooges short.
He chopped a chest-high fastball to first, where Luis Arraez fielded the ball and threw home. The 6-5 Guzmán ducked to make the throw easier (instinct, but a brutal one), allowing the Twins to record the out at the plate in slow motion. No fan watching would’ve dreamed the lumbering first baseman would then be gunned down at first, too, but somehow … it wasn’t even close.
Perhaps the pain of the foul ball lingered? Guzmán seemed to limp back to the dugout, too, hobbling his way into infamy, and giving newfound credence to his quotes from 2018 about hating the Yankees.
From Texas to New York with this attitude? He’s literally the anti Trevino.
Hoping for the best for Guzmán moving forward, because his teammates seemingly helped him avoid infamy by pulling together in the clutch to steal a win from the jaws of defeat.