The New York Yankees secured a victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday evening 3-2, thanks to a remarkable performance by Harrison Bader. Although he didn’t start the game, Bader delivered in the 8th inning, pinch-hitting for Jake Bauers over two ABs.
Tampa Bay’s offense failed to capitalize on several opportunities, allowing the Yankees to escape unharmed even though all five of their pitchers allowed at least one hit.
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Good news for the Yankees:
As mentioned earlier, Bader emerged as the game’s hero by hitting a single to right field, driving in Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu, and providing the Yankees with a 3-2 lead in the 8th inning. Bader went 2-for-2 that afternoon and is 3-for-6 in the series, boasting a three-run home run and five RBIs. Impressively, Bader is directly responsible for five of the seven runs the Yankees have scored against Tampa in the past two days.
Collectively, the Bombers tallied eight hits and struck out nine times, although the top of the order faltered. Anthony Volpe and Anthony Rizzo accumulated five strikeouts, but Rizzo did manage a run and a hit in five at-bats.
Regarding pitching, Domingo German allowed two earned runs and struck out five batters over 5.0 innings. The backup starter gave a decent performance, throwing 81 pitches. Fortunately, the Yankees managed to suppress Tampa Bay’s offensive output from that point forward, even though Ian Hamilton yielded a double in the ninth inning, which undoubtedly alarmed the fans.
Bad news for the Yankees:
Despite Bader’s late-game heroics, the Yankees struggled to generate much offense. Isiah Kiner-Falefa recorded two hits in four at-bats, but Aaron Hicks failed to reach base, striking out once.
Ultimately, the Bombers must decide on Hicks, who currently possesses a .135 average and a .196 OBP this season. While his defensive performance has been inconsistent, his inability to produce even a walk has become a significant issue.
As long as Bader is included in the lineup, Hicks should not be considered for playing time. Fortunately, Aaron Judge is expected to return against the Oakland Athletics in the upcoming week, which should relegate Hicks to the bench for the foreseeable future.