The only cheer Aaron Hicks heard throughout the game came after he caught a routine flyout in the fifth inning. The Bronx crowd was sarcastically proud and the fanbase may have found their next Joey Gallo.
Hicks struggled with his glove, allowing a catchable ball to fall to enable the Rays’ first run, then grounded into a basesloaded double play in Monday’s 4-0 loss to the Yankees.
“Just generally extremely embarrassing,” Hicks said after his misspelling and multiple clutch failures. “Even if I don’t hit, I want my defense to be on point. I messed up there too.”
Hicks’ bad night started in the second inning when he struckout with two outs and runners on first and second base in a scoreless game. Hicks hit .173 this season with runners in scoring position, which was the fifth worst in baseball after the game.
In the top of the fourth inning, Hicks’ night went from disappointing to troubling.
To lead out of the frame, Tampa Bay’s David Peralta drove a high flyout into midfield which Hicks misjudged. He kept drifting back and turned around on the warning track. He jumped out for the ball at the last second, which bounced to the ground and went for a triple. Isaac Paredes’ RBI single then put the Rays ahead to stay.
“It’s clearly a game that needs to be made,” said manager Aaron Boone, with which Hicks agreed.
“I turned the wrong way and tried to recover,” said Hicks, who then struggled to determine where the ball would end up. “That was a run that Gerrit [Cole] shouldn’t have had anything to do with it.”
Hicks could have found redemption in the bottom of the inning, but an unsettling night turned disastrous.
The Yankees, trailing 1-0 due to the glove from Hicks, loaded the bases with one out for their number 9 batter. Hicks grounded a tapper back to pitcher Ryan Yarbrough, who threw to catcher Francisco Mejia, who rolled the inning-ending double play to first baseman Ji-Man Choi.
The booing reached its peak when Hicks looked down in frustration. Hicks acknowledged that it’s harder to bounce back when booing follows him everywhere.
“It’s not nice to hear booing, but when you have a season like me, that’s kind of how it goes. Especially around here,” said Hicks, who went 2-for-22 in his last six games and 5-for-42 (0.119) this month. “They want results.”
The double play was Hicks’ fourth basesloaded, the most in baseball this season.
Hicks got another at bat and he was greeted with a big yell as he stepped off and was ejected with a big yell after grounding out, lowering his OPS to .644.
Boone, without naming names, repeatedly referred to “a few individuals who are struggling a bit with their confidence right now”.
For now, Hicks is the only answer for a club that doesn’t want Aaron Judge to play in midfield very often.
It is possible that Harrison Bader will return from the injured list next month, but the return of the Jordan Montgomery trade has to do with plantar fasciitis. He walks in a walking boot and could be about two weeks away from resuming baseball activities.
It sounds like the Yankee Stadium crowd prefers a limping Bader taking over the midfield.