New York Yankees: 3 major takeaways from the loss to the Rays in the finale

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

The New York Yankees lost the series finale to the Tampa Bay Rays as the Rays swept the Yankees and caused the Yankees to lose the last six series with the Rays. The Rays have definitely been the Yankees nemesis over the last few years and have only intensified this season, with the Yankees only taking one game of the first six games of this season against the Rays.

Defense hurts the Yankees

Yesterday at Yankee Stadium, the Rays again took a game away from the New York Yankees, partially due to some abysmal defensive play. Yesterday Gerrit Cole had his fourth start of the season. He pitched well through 109 pitches but was challenged in the game by some pretty sloppy Yankee defense. Gio Urshela overshot first base in what should have been an out. Aaron Hicks had a horrible defensive night bobbling two balls hit to him, and Clint Frazier aiming for second base, nearly caught the first baseman off guard by throwing far beyond second base.

The mistakes only cost the Yankees one run, but in a season when the Yankees aren’t hitting, it was an important factor in the Yankee loss. The New York Yankees are 26th in committing the most errors. They are experiencing almost one error per game. Many of which have caused runners to cross the plate, leading to Yankee losses. Only four teams have an error record worse than the Yankees.

Yesterday Yankee ace Gerrit Cole pitched an excellent game, but the Yankees’ poor field play challenged him. He went into the seventh inning of the game, giving up two earned runs while striking out 10 Rays and allowing no walks. Of the several Yankee mistakes, only one bobbled play by Aaron Hicks was called an error. Because he got little run support, he was saddled with his first loss of the season.

New York Yankee hitting still lacking

Yesterday against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Yankee could only get 3 hits against Ray’s pitching. Only getting 3 hits in a game means you are going to lose many games. The Yankees’ poor hitting has dogged them since the beginning of the season in all but a handful of games. Yesterday only DJ Lemahieu and Giancarlo Stanton drove in runs, showing that the situational hitting still isn’t there.

In this series against the Rays, the New York Yankees have only hit .176 across the three games, with the Rays scoring nearly twice as many runs. After Kittredge started the game, the Rays reliever Ryan Yarbrough held the Yankees scoreless for 6 innings. Also troubling is that when the Yankees go into the ninth inning losing, they will almost surely lose the game as they are only hitting .118 in the ninth inning in the first 15 games.

Other than DJ LeMahieu, Kyle Higashioka Brett Gardner, and Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankee hitters are just not hitting, and situational hitting has almost been absent, with many hitters hitting into double plays. Clint Frazier, whose play in left field, is about to lose his everyday play because he also is not hitting. His batting average is now is just .167, and he has gone 67 plate appearances without driving in a run. He has yet to have a run driven in going back to the postseason.

The New York Yankees are now 5-10 on the season, their worst start in 24 years. It’s their worst start since 1997, when they went 5-10 to start the season. However, in 1997 after that bad start, they won 19 or their next 26 games. The way this team is hitting that kind of recovery doesn’t seem likely. The Yankees are at the very bottom of the American League. The Yankees are digging themselves into a hole.

Giancarlo Stanton hits his 3rd home run

Giancarlo Stanton has been one of the few bright spots this season and yesterday hit his 3rd home run in 13 games. He leads the team in RBI’s with 12 on the season. His batting average is below average at just .176, but his plate discipline has been better, and hit situational hitter has been better than most. If he continues to hit home runs at this pace, he could have as many as 40 home runs on the season. He now ties Aaron Judge in home runs. Judge, however, is second on the team in hits with a batting average of .255 after striking out 3 times yesterday.

Why Aaron Hicks should remain the Yankees’ three hitter

New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks

The Yankees have solidified Aaron Hicks as the number three batter in the lineup. Since early in the 2020 season, Aaron Boone and the coaching staff have been adamant about batting Hicks third. However, since the start of the 2021 season, Hicks hasn’t been able to produce. This has fans questioning why Hicks is batting third. Boone acknowledged it but noted that it’s too early to make a switch. Personally, I think he’s right.

Why should Hicks be there?

The Yankees are only one week into the season, and it’s not uncommon that players get off to a slow start. It’s clear that Hicks isn’t seeing the ball well. He’s struck out seven times in eighteen plate appearances and just hasn’t looked good. However, that doesn’t mean Boone needs to pull the trigger so soon. Especially since he’s had so much success batting third in the past. 

In 2020, Hicks hit third in 32 games. Out of those 32 games, Hicks managed to get on base at least once in 28 of them. That means that in those games, Hicks had a .361 on-base percentage. 

So far this year, Hicks has been batting behind LeMahieu and Judge. Last year, LeMahieu had an OBP of .421, and Judge had an OBP of .336. That means that your first three batters all have an above-average on-base percentage. From that standpoint, Hicks fits perfectly. His speed and ability to get on base are perfect for the Yankees lineup. He’s able to extend innings and give power hitters like Stanton, Voit, and Sanchez, a chance to do something big. Not to mention, his switch-hitting ability always gives him the advantage against pitchers.

Hicks is too good of a hitter to be batting any lower. Basing this decision on his production so far this year is extremely unfair. The sample size is too small. Right now, his strikeout percentage stands at 38.9%. However, if you look at his career, it’s only 21%. That’s the third-lowest on the team behind LeMahieu (14.7%) and Urshela (17.7%). It goes to show that we need to see more. If Hicks keeps striking out as frequently, Boone should move him. However, I’m almost positive this number will eventually flatten out. 

To wrap things up, I think Hicks will remain the three-hitter for the foreseeable future. Until his struggles become more consistent, I think Boone will keep him there. To me, it’s the perfect spot for him if he plays the way he normally does. 

Tune in on Friday to see Aaron Hicks and the Yankees as they begin a three-game set against the Rays!

New York Yankees: 3 major takeaways from Yankees loss to the Jays

New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks

Last night the New York Yankees met up with the Toronto Blue Jays in the second game of a three-game set in Dunedin, Florida. The results were not encouraging; they lost to the Jays 7-3, and both the pitching and hitting mostly failed. Here are 3 major takeaways from the game.

Jameson Taillon, not good again

Jameson Taillon had his second start of the young season last night, and it wasn’t good. He got through the first inning just fine, but it was all downhill from there. Grichuk singled, Gurriel Jr. was hit by a pitch, Jensen walked, loading the bases. Then, Palacios had a sac fly, scoring two Jay’s runs. In the third inning, the Jays scored another run.

In the fourth inning, Taillon was still in the game, with the Yankee hitting able to pull him out of a bad start. The fourth inning did Taillon in, as allowed Marcus Semien a home run giving the Jays the 4 run lead. Later in the inning, a wild pitch and a double added another Jay’s run, and that was it for Taillon. Lucas Luetge came in the get the last out of the inning. You may say this is only one game, but Taillon is yet to have a good outing. Add to that, Domingo German has been sent down to Scranton after his two bad starts. Corey Kluber hasn’t been exactly great either; his ERA is sitting at 5.68. Taillon’s ERA is 7.56.

The once stellar-looking New York Yankee pitching rotation looks pretty bad, with only two pitchers performing well, Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery. Luckily for the Yankees, the bullpen has been considerably better than the starting rotation, but if the starters continue as they have, the bullpen will soon be burnt out.

Where is the New York Yankee hitting?

The Yankee hitting has been just horrible so far this season. You may say, hey, it’s early in the season. That is true, but the more games the Yankees lose early on, the further they will be behind at the end of the season. The fact of the matter is that the Yankees hitting has been inconsistent or just not there at all.

The Yankees hitting has come alive in a few games, and those are the games the Yankees won. Last night in as in so many games, the Yankees were only able to muster up 8 hits, most in the game’s late innings when the game was out of reach. Aaron Hicks, who has been one of the worst hitters in the lineup, came alive, going 3 for 4 on the night. Other bright spots include Rougned Odor driving in a run; he has been impactful in his first three games as a Yankee, Giancarlo Stanton drove in two runs for a team-leading 9 RBI’s. If he remains healthy and continues at that pace he will have over 100 RBI’s on the season.

The biggest problem the New York Yankees are having with their hitting is that the heart of the lineup who is supposed to win games for the Yankees, in the first eleven games of the season, the 3 to 6 slots in the lineup are hitting just .143, that’s the worst in baseball. In the first eleven games of the season, the Yankees have struck out 146 times, that’s the most in MLB.

If these stats aren’t alarming to the Yankees and don’t find a way to fix it quickly, they will again fail in the division. They now anchor the AL East. To add to an already bleak-looking situation, the Yankees are hitting into double plays an inordinate number of times (15), many of them by last year’s batting champ DJ LeMahieu.

The only bright spot is the bullpen

All during the regular season, the New York Yankees bullpen has performed well, almost to the point of being perfect. Last night the combination of Lucas Luetge, Luis Cessa, and Albert Abreu only allowed on earned run over four innings. Normally over the first eleven games, they have been even better than that.

Jonathan Loaisiga, Luis Cessa, Michael King, Chad Green, Aroldis Chapman, Darren O’Day, and Justin Wilson have yet to allow an earned run on the season. Any team would be thrilled to have this bullpen. Nick Nelson is the only reliever that has not performed well.

The bottom line is that the bullpen can’t carry the Yankees season, the starters must go further into games and perform better, and the Yankees hitters have to start hitting consistently.

 

New York Yankees Recap: Yankees bats silent in 7-3 loss to the Jays

New York Yankees, Jameson Taillon

The New York Yankees met up with the Toronto Blue Jays tonight at Dunedin, Florida, at TD Stadium. The Yankees went 1-2 in the first set that they played at Yankee Stadium. Last night the Yankees won the first game of this three-game set 3 to 1. Tonight the Yankees sent Jameson Taillon out to the mound to help the Yankees win another one. He faced the Jay’s ace Hyun Jin Ryu. In his first start of the season, Taillon had an ERA of 3.68 while striking out seven. Ryu, in his first start, struck out seven in a no-decision against the Texas Rangers.

Ryu faced in the first inning DJ LeMahieu pushed out a single. Giancarlo Stanton hit into the double play. Aaron Judge struck out to end the half for the Yankees. At the bottom, Jameson Taillon faced Marcus Semien ground out. Bo Bichette, with a nine-game hitting streak on the line, flew out to Judge in right. Vlad Guerrero Jr. ground out to Urshela for his second successful play at shortstop to end the scoreless inning. Taillon had an eight-pitch first inning.

The top of the second had Gary Sanchez at the plate leading off against Ryu. He struck out on a ball high out of the strike zone. Aaron Hicks struck out. Rougned Odor struck out, with Ryu striking out the side. Randal Grichuk led off the bottom against Taillon and singled. Cavan Biggio struck out. Gurriel Jr. was hit by a pitch moving Grichuk to second. Rowdy Tellez struck out for the second out. Danny Jansen walked to load the bases. Josh Palacios ground up the middle for a two-run single for Palacios.  Semien ground out to Odor to end the inning, but the Jays picked up two runs. Jays 2 New York Yankees 0.

Gio Urshela led off the third by grounding out. Clint Frazier flew out to third. Jay Bruce, who was manning first tonight, flew out to center for a 1-2-3 inning for Ryu. At the bottom, Bichette went to second on an errant throw from Urshela in another catch that Jay Bruce should have made.  Guerrero Jr. line drove to left. Men on the corners with no outs. Grichuk flew out to Judge, but Bichette scored. Biggio singled. Gurriel Jr. popped out to Urshela for the second out. Tellez grounded to Odor to end the inning. Jays 3 Yankees 0.

At the top of the fourth, DJ LeMahieu struck out. Stanton flew out to Grichuk on the warning track. Judge ground out to short. Ryu continued to dominate the Yankee hitters. At the bottom, Danny Jansen was called out on strikes. Palacios flew out to the wall in right, but Judge was there for the out. Semien got a home run into the right-field stands for the 4 run lead for the Jays. Bichette doubled to right-center. Guerrero Jr. at the plate Bichette made third on a wild pitch. Guerrero Jr. doubled to give Toronto the five-run lead and knocking Taillon out of the game. Lacus Luetge came in and got Grichuk to fly out. Jays 5 Yankees 0.

Ryu ground out Gary Sanchez at the top of the fifth. Hicks singled to left field. Odor hit into a double play to end the half. At the bottom of the fifth, with Luetge still on the mound, Baggio struck out swinging. Gurriel Jr. struck out. Tellez homered over the center-field wall for the 6 run Jays lead. Jansen struck out to end the inning, but the Jays picked up another run. Jays 6 Yankees 0.

Gio Urshela led off the sixth, striking out. Frazier was called out on an obvious ball, drawing shouts from the crowd. Bruce had a double to center with two outs. LeMahieu worked a walk for two on and two outs. Stanton chopped back to Ryu to end the half and strand two Yankees. Palacios struck out with Luis Cessa on the mound. Semien was called out on strikes. Bichette lined out to LeMahieu at third to end the inning. Jays 6 Yankees 0.

Aaron Judge ground out to start the seventh inning. Sanchez made it to first on an E5. Aaron hicks doubled to put two on base with only one out.  Odor ground out but got an RBI as the Yankees scored a run from third, and that was it for Ryu, who was dominant through 6.2 innings. He was replaced by David Phelps facing Urshela, who popped out for the final out, but the Yankees put a run on the board. Cessa still on the mound, Guerrero Jr. walked. Grichuk struck out. Biggio singled. Gurriel Jr. hit into the force out. Tellez ground out to end the inning. Jays 6 Yankees 1.

Leading off the eighth was Clint Frazier, and he singled past short. Jay Bruce struck out. LeMahieu reached, and Giancarlo Stanton drove in two for the 3 run Yankee deficit. Aaron Judge, with one on, flew out. Sanchez walked, causing another pitching change. Sanchez tried to get to second and was tagged out for a huge mistake, losing a great opportunity to tie the game up. Albert Abreu came out at the bottom, and Jensen ground out. Palacious walked. Semien walked. A wild pitch allowed the runners to advance while Abreu seemed to have lost the way. Bichette had a sac fly driving in another Jays’ run. Geurrero Jr. struck out. Jays 7 Yankees 3.

With last licks on the line for the New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks singled. Odor hit into a double play. Urshela singled. The play was put under review, and the call was overturned to end the game—final score Toronto Blue Jays 7 and the New York Yankees 3. Hyun Jin Ryu was the winning pitcher, and Jameson Taillon the loser. The Yankees developed a pulse in the late innings, but there were mistakes, and it wasn’t enough.

Yankees: Situation in Minneapolis hit Hicks ‘particularly hard’ as he didn’t play on Monday

New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks

The New York Yankees won their Monday night game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, backed by a strong outing by their ace Gerrit Cole and two home runs from backup catcher Kyle Higashioka.

However, they didn’t have center fielder Aaron Hicks in the lineup, as the Yankees’ star was shocked and with a heavy heart after he learned about the fatal police shooting of a young black man in Minneapolis, named Daunte Wright.

The Yankees’ regular designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton also considered sitting the game out. Both men were among the most vocal clubhouse leaders in last year’s Black Lives Matter movement.

The Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox suspended their game last night out of respect for Wright’s family.

The Yankees supported Hicks’ decision

According to Yankees’ beat writer for MLB.com Bryan Hoch, Hicks approached him approximately two hours before the game to talk about the situation.

“He’s having a tough time right now,” Boone said. “We had a conversation in my office, and he just felt like it was best to not be in the starting lineup tonight. I certainly support that, and we’ll try to rally around him the best we can. The situation is heartbreaking right now in Minneapolis, and it’s hit him particularly hard.”

Hicks has roots in Minnesota, as he was drafted by the Twins in 2008 and played there until 2015. The Yankees acquired him in a trade.

“Aaron is hurting in a huge way,” Boone said. “I think in a way he felt like it was probably the responsible thing to take himself out, knowing that it was going to be hard for him to be all-in mentally in what’s a high-stakes, difficult job to go out there and perform for the New York Yankees.”

“I can’t walk in Aaron’s shoes, but as a teammate, my job is to support him and make sure he’s doing all right,” starting pitcher Gerrit Cole said. “So if that’s an arm around him or a pat on the butt, whatever he needs to go through emotionally, we’ll be here for him.”

New York Yankees: 3 major takeaways from loss to the Rays

New York Yankees, Corey Kluber

Yesterday afternoon the New York Yankees met up with their nemesis Tampa Bay Rays in the first game of the season against the team that beat them in the 2020 AL Divisional series. After a few years of building dislike for each other, the two teams kept it non-violent other than a few hit batters that did not cause much unrest. For the Yankees, it was a sad day that saw their pitching collapse early in the game, causing a 10-5 loss.

A tough Opening Day

The New York Yankees started their afternoon having to endure a celebration by the Tampa Bay Rays, celebrating their 2020 win of the East and their win in that made them pennant champions. Reportedly the Yankee players were allowed to stay in the visiting clubhouse or view the festivities from the dugout. Most were in the dugout. It had to be painful for many players to see the Rays raise those celebratory flags.

Last season the Yankees lost the East Division to the Rays, falling seven runs behind the Rays at the end of the short season. After the Yankees swept the Indians in the Wild Card Series, they again met up with the Tampa team in the divisional series for the AL that they lost in five games.

Yankee pitching fails early

After a generally good start in his first game of the season, Corey Kluber took to the mound for the first game of the season against the East rival Tampa Bay Rays. In the first inning, Yoshi Tsutsugo struck out. Austin Meadows singled to left field. Randy Arozarena hit into a double play to end the inning, letting Kluber get out of trouble quickly. At the second, Brandon Lowe struck out, but Yandy Diaz singled on a LeMahieu error.  Joey Wendle singled, and Diaz went to third. Willie Adames hit one off the centerfield wall, Diaz scored, and Wendle went to third base for the Rays early lead. Brett Phillips flew out, but Wendle scored for the 2 run lead. Mike Zunino popped out to the infield, but the Rays picked up 2 runs in the inning.

At the bottom of the third inning, after Tsutsugo scored, a single and two walks knocked Kluber out of the game early. Nick Nelson was brought in to save Kluber, but he made it worse. Nelson gave up two more runs in the inning, putting the Yankees behind the eightball. Had Nelson cleaned up for Kluber, Kluber’s start wouldn’t have looked so sad.

In the fourth inning Nelson who had pitched so well in the spring, loaded bases, then a double by Brandon Lowe cleared the bases. Arozarena scored. At the end of the fourth inning, the Rays had scored 9 runs in the game, putting it out of reach. Lucas Luetge gave up a homer for the final scoring for the Rays. Luis Cessa pitched a clean eighth inning. The final score was Rays 10, Yankees 5. Starter Kluber now has a 5.68 ERA early in the season.

Hitting still inconsistent

In yesterday’s Rays game, the New York Yankee hitting remained inconsistent. Although they did get 7 hits in the game, most were in the third inning when they scored 4 of their runs. The only other scoring in the game came in the top of the eighth inning from a LeMahieu solo home run. In the third inning, Aaron Hicks got his first home run of the season. At the end of the inning, the Yankees took the 4-2 lead in the game, giving them hope that the game’s poor early pitching would not prevent them from winning the game. But that was not to be; the Rays scored 8 unanswered runs.

DJ LeMahieu had two hits in the game, and Giancarlo Stanton continued to look good driving in two runs. Jay Bruce and Clint Frazier are off to sluggish starts in the season. Bruce stuck out twice in the game, and Frazier struck out three of four times.

Today’s matchup

Today at 1:10 pm, the New York Yankees will have their second game against the Rays. Domingo German will start for the Yankees and for the Rays, newly acquired Chris Archer, who gave up four runs in his two innings of work in his first game of the season. Archer, in his career, has held the Yankees to a 3.14 ERA. The game will be televised in Florida on Bally Sports Sun and in the New York area on the YES Network. It will also be televised nationally on MLBN. (out of market).

 

 

New York Yankees Recap: Double digits as the Yankee pitching struggles in loss to the Rays

New York Yankees, Nick Nelson

Today the New York Yankees started their first away series of the season against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in Tampa, Florida. It was the home Opening Day for the Rays. The Yankees had to sit by and watch the Rays celebrate their 2020 pennant win. After the Opening ceremonies, the Rays sent Rich Hill to the mound to face the Yankees. Hill bombed in his first start of the season, giving up 4 runs in 4 innings of work. The Yankees started 2 times Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber. Fans watched how the two teams that don’t like each other played at the start of the season.

DJ LeMahieu led off for the New York Yankees; he struck out.  Slotted in the number two spot was Giancarlo Stanton because Aaron Judge still rested for left soreness. Stanton ground out. Aaron Hicks popped out for a 1-2-3 half for Hill. Corey Kluber took to the mound in the bottom facing Yoshi Tsutsugo, who struck out. Austin Meadows singled to left field. Randy Arozarena hit into a double play to end the inning. No score.

At the top of the second, Gleyber Torres led off, flying out to left. Jay Bruce lined out. Gary Sanchez struck out and caused the Yankees to go down in order again. At the bottom, Brandon Lowe struck out. Yandy Diaz reached on an errant throw from LeMahieu. Joey Wendle singled, and Diaz went to third. Willie Adames hit one off the centerfield wall, Diaz scored, and Wendle went to third base for the Rays early lead. Brett Phillips flew out, but Wendle scored for the 2 run lead. Mike Zunino popped out to the infield. Rays 2 Yankees 0.

Clint Frazier led off the third, striking out looking. Mike Tauchman struck out, and Tyler Wade singled. LeMahieu doubled for a tough break for the Yankees as it bounced into the stands, not allowing the speedy Wade to score. Stanton had a two-run single to tie up the game at 2 apiece. Hicks homered to deep left field, driving in two more Yankee runs, all of this action with 2 outs. Torres popped out, but the Yankees scored 4. At the bottom, Tsutsugo singled, while Frazier’s rocket arm prevented him from advancing. Meadows walked for two on and no outs. Arozarena singled, scoring Tsutsugo to score. Arozaren stole second. Lowe struck out. Diaz walked to load the bases, and that was the end of the day for Kluber. Nick Nelson replaced him.  Wendle hit one off the wall above Tauchman’s head, driving in two runs. Adames popped out. Phillips ground to Wade, but the Rays picked up 3 runs. Rays 5 New York Yankees 4.

Hill still on the mound, Bruce led off striking out. Sanchez ground out. Frazier struck out for the quick half for Hill. At the bottom of the fourth will Nelson on the mound, Zunino was hit by a pitch and advanced to first. Tsutsugo walked. Meadows singled with a man on first and second, loading the bases with Rays with no outs. Arozarena struck out. Lowe doubled, clearing the bases. Lowe singled scoring Arozarena as the Rays poured it on, scoring 9 runs off Yankee pitching with only one out in the fourth. Wendle struck out, but the ball got by Sanchez, and Lowe moved to second. Adames struck out for Nelson to finally get out of the inning. Rays 9 Yankees 4.

The Yankees lead off the fifth trying to recover from the Rays onslaught, with Hill still on the mound. Tauchman flew out. Wade ground out to the shortstop. LeMahieu ground out to second. At the bottom, Lucas Luetge took to the mound facing Phillips, who ground out. Zunino ground out to short. Tsutsugo doubled to far left field. Meadows flew out to Hicks for the first quick inning for both teams.

Hill, still on the mound in the sixth with 71 pitches, faced Stanton, who flew out to left-center. Hicks went down on strikes. Torres popped out to end the half. Arozarena, with Luetge still on the mound, struck out. Lowe struck out. Diaz doubled. Wendle flew to left-center, and Tauchman made a diving catch to end the inning. Jays 9 Yankees 4.

Hunter Stickland faced Jay Bruce at the top of the seven, striking him out. Sanchez walked. Frazier, with one on and one out, struck out for the third time in the game. Tauchman, who made that beautiful diving catch in the sixth, popped out to the third baseman. Luetge out for his third inning allowed a home run by Adames. Phillips flew out. Zunino struck out looking. Tsutsugo went down on strikes, but the Rays picked up another run, Rays 10 Yankees 4.

Tyler Wade led off the eighth, facing Strickland, striking out. LeMahieu hit a home run, his first of the season just over the left-field wall. Stanton ground out to short for the second out. Hicks, who hit a homer in third, flew out, but the Yankees scored a run in the half. After three innings for Luetge, Luis Cessa took over the Yankees’ pitching. Meadows doubled. Arozarena struck out. Lowe hit into a double play ending the inning.  Rays 10 New York Yankees 5.

With last licks on the line, Gleyber Torres singled. Jay Bruce hit into a double play for two outs. Gary Sanchez who stuck out three times lined drove to left field avoiding the Sombrero. Frazier grounded to short to end the game with the Yankees losing the first game of the three-game set.

The Tampa Bay Rays hitting that really struggled in the first six games of the season came alive in the first game against the Yankees. The Yankees had two home runs in the game but just couldn’t get the job done. The Rays had 13 hits in the game for10 runs. The final score was Tampa Bay 10 Yankees 5. The winning pitcher was Rich Hill and the loser was Corey Kluber.

 

Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone loves Aaron Hicks as the number three hitter

New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks

Since he arrived to the New York Yankees in 2016, center fielder Aaron Hicks has been a walking machine. He posted at least a 14.0 BB% in three out of his last four seasons, and the other one was a still-great 12.2 in 2019. His keen eye, some would say, is ideal for the leadoff spot in Aaron Boone’s lineup card day in and day out.

However, he is also a switch hitter with a considerable amount of power, evidenced by his 27 home runs in 2018, his last fully healthy season with the Yankees. Last year, he hit six balls out of the park, but he was coming off offseason elbow surgery.

As a result, and by virtue of his excellent power and patience combo, the Yankees love what Hicks brings to the table as a number three hitter.

Hicks is one of the Yankees’ best and most patient batters

Boone has recently said that he sees Hicks as his third hitter for the 2021 season. He shows a tremendous amount of confidence in the versatile outfielder and believes he is among the best hitters in Yankees’ loaded roster.

“When I played, the three-hitter was the best hitter on the team,” Boone said. “It’s kind of evolved over the last several years. Since I’ve been here, over the last three or four years, you really think more closely and intimately about how you put the lineup together and where certain skill sets match up the best. It’s something that’s evolved steadily over the last 10 years.”

Boone will write down DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge’s names in the first two spots in the Yankees’ lineup, as he wants them to have the most possible at-bats. Then, he likes Hicks because he is talented, patient, powerful, and because he breaks up a string of righties, such as Giancarlo Stanton, Luke Voit, Gleyber Torres, and Gary Sanchez.

“I’m super comfortable there,” Hicks said to MLB.com. “I understand what the job needs. I know that I can do both. I hit for power and also get on base. Especially in our lineup, with the four guys that I’m around, I think that combination is really good.”

New York Yankees: 3 major takeaways from the Yankee’s win over the Phillies and today’s preview

New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks

The New York Yankees. traveled to Clearwater, Florida yesterday and put on a show of how the game of baseball should be played. They used a mix of the long ball and small ball over nine innings to display the game elements that win games. Mix that with good pitching, and you will win most games. The Yankees won the game 6-1, and they did it with their “B” lineup.

Gerrit Cole:

Gerrit Cole bounced back from his one inning struggle in his first start of the season. In his first start, he struggled to throw 27 pitches in one inning and giving up a run. A subject at least at the beginning of the season is who is catching Cole. Last season he had a personal catcher in Kyle Higashioka. Manager Aaron Boone said before spring training started that that would not be the case this season. But that conversation is not going to go away. In his first game, Gary Sanchez caught the ace, and as I said, it was obvious with so many pitches that he struggled.

In yesterday’s game, he was caught by Kyle Higashioka, who was his personal catcher during 2020. Last year demonstrated the difference in his ERA when caught by Sanchez vs. Higashioka. 3.91 with Sanchez and 1.10 with Higashioka. Yesterday seemed to demonstrate that same difference. Pitching to Higashioka, he lowered his ERA from 9.00 to 4.50, pitching 3 innings.

Jonathan Loaisiga:

Encouraging news for the New York Yankees arising out of yesterday’s game was that Jonathan Loaisiga was again nearly perfect in his second outing. He pitched three scoreless innings in relief of Gerrit Cole. He pitched four innings of scoreless ball over both of his games while striking out eight opponents while allowing no walks.

This kind of performance from Loaisiga has to be encouraging for the Yankees as they will be missing Zack Britton for at least two or three weeks of the regular season while he recovers from elbow surgery to remove some bone chips from his elbow. Luis Cessa, the Yankee’s main mid-reliever, has struggled so far in spring training. The New York Yankees will need Loaisiga to continue his excellent pitching displays.

Get singles and steal bases:

The New York Yankees proved yesterday that they could win when not using their “A” lineup. The Yankees used a combination of a homer from Aaron Hicks and a lot of small ball to propel them to a win. Five of the six runs they scored in the game were via the small ball. The Yankees used a mix of singles, doubles, and base stealing to overcome the Phillies. The lineup yesterday did not include two power hitters that are Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.

Aaron Hicks set the game’s tone, homering in the first inning, but it was the Yankee’s 14 hits in the game that won it for them. Andrew Velazquez, Oswald Peraza, and Chris Gittens shone in the game. It also helped that the Yankees played errorless ball. With the possibility of a Grand Slam from the Phillies, the Yankee’s Matt Vierling robbed the Phillies with a jumping catch at the wall.

Today the New York Yankees will take on the Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida. The Yankee’s Jameson Taillon will take on the Tiger’s Julio Teheran. This will be Taillon’s second start in three games. So far, he has only given up two hits, one walk, and no earned runs while striking out five opponents across three innings.

 

New York Yankees Recap: Small ball was the name of the game in Yankee win

New York Yankees, Jonathan Loaisiga

The New York Yankees traveled to Clearwater, Florida today to play the Philadelphia Phillies at BayCare Park. Starting for the Yankees was Gerrit Cole in his second start of spring camp. Cole was roughed up a bit in his one inning with Gary Sanchez catching; he went only one inning giving up one run with 27 pitches. Today he faced Aaron Nola for the Phillies. It was a beautiful day for baseball under mostly sunny skies and a game-time temperature of 78 degrees and a light breeze. The Yankees won the game 6-1.

The Yankees led off with their “B” lineup. Leading off was Aaron Hicks who was very patient with Nola and ended up hitting a left-field homer off him to start the game. Luke Voit lined out. Jay Bruce ground out. Clint Frazier ground out to third, ending the half but with a Yankee one-run lead. Gerrit Cole came out in the bottom of the frame, this time with Kyle Higashioka catching. Ex-Yankee McCutchen singled to right, Hoskins struck out, and Bryce Harper flew out. Bohm closed out the inning by striking out. Yankees 1 Phillies 0.

Mike Ford fighting for a spot on Opening Day, led off the second inning by having a line-drive single to right field. Higashioka had a swinging strikeout; Tyler Wade also swung his way to a strikeout, followed by Thairo Estrada ground out, leaving Ford stranded. Cole out for the second stuck out Didi Gregorius, who is off to a languid start this spring training. Segura ground out, and Herrera flew out to give Cole a quick one-two-three inning.

Andrew Velazquez led off for the New York Yankees in the third. He singled sharply. Back at the top of the lineup Aaron Hicks who homered in the first, Velazquez stole second and advance to third on the Hicks ground out. Voit singled, scoring Velazquez for the two-run Yankee lead. Jay Bruce walked, moving Voit to second. Frazier flew into a double play ending the inning, but the Yankees picked up another run. Cole is being stretched out and was out on the mound for the third inning. Knapp struck out, Kingery doubled off Cole, and McCutchen singled, scoring Kingery from second. Hoskins flew out for the second out. Harper struck out to end the inning. Yankees 2 Phillies 1.

Nola out for his fourth-inning ground out Ford. Higashioka ground out, and Tyler Wade struck out for the quick half. Jonathan Loaisiga replaced Cole at the bottom of the frame. Bohm flew out sharply to Hicks, Gregorius struck out, and Segura grounded out to Ford for the game’s quickest inning. Yankees 2 Phillies 1.

In the fifth, Coonrad replaced Nola. Estrada struck out. Velazquez got his second single of the game. Velazquez advanced to second on a pickoff error. Hicks doubled in Velazquez as the Yankees picked up another run. Voit ground out, and Jay Bruce ground out for the third out. Loaisiga out for a second inning popped out Herrera. Knapp ground out, as did Kingery. Loaisiga looked sharp in both of his innings. Yankees 3 Phillies 1.

With Romero pitching, Clint Frazier singled, Ford hit into a double play leaving the bases empty. Higashioka struck out, ending the half. Loaisiga was on the mount for a third inning. He caught a comebacker from Vierling; Hoskins ground out as did Harper, completing three excellent innings for Loaisiga.  Yankees 3 Phillies 1.

David Hale faced Tyler Wade in the seventh. Wade singled, Estrada was hit by a pitch advancing the speedy Wade to second. Park pinch-ran for Estrada. Velazquez flew out to left. Greg Allen hit into a double play stranding the runners. Jhoulys Chacin took the mound at the bottom of the frame. Maton singled, Chatham was forced out, Stot flew out. Chacin threw Jankowski three straight balls but got him out on the 9th pitch. Yankees 3 Phillies 1.

Michael Ynoa on the mound for the Phillies in the eighth, Anthony Seigler walked on nine pitches. Seigler stole second. Ryan LaMarre struck out. Brito flew out, Gittens singled, driving in Seigler, and McDowell singled, allowing Gittens to advance to third base. The Phillies changed pitchers Ynoa out, Hammer in. Oswald Peraza singled driving in Gittens for another Yankee run. Hoy Park, while batting, Hammer had a wild pitch advancing McDowell to third and Peraza to second. Park walked, loading the bases for the Yankees. Velazquez hit McDowell in for another run. Bases remain loaded. Greg Allen ground out, leaving the bases loaded, but the Yankees picked up three runs in the half. Yankees 6 Phillies 1.

Chacin had a one-two-third inning at the bottom of the eighth. At the top of the ninth inning, the Yankees’ Siegler led off against Ramon Russo. Seigler struck out, LaMarre struck out, Brito singled, Gittens singled, McDowell walked, loading the bases, Peraza flew out, leaving the bases loaded. With last licks on the line for the Phillies, the New York Yankees sent Lucas Luetge to close it for the Yankees. Hall popped out,  O’Hoppe struck out, and Maton made the final out of the Yankee 6-1 win over the Phillies.

Jonathan Loaisiga was the winning pitcher. The New York Yankees played a great game of small ball that accounted for five of the six runs. The long home run was from Aaron Hicks. The Yankees played errorless baseballs and stole to bases in the assault against the Phillies. On a down note, the Yankees did leave 10 men on base.