The fickle finger of blame is pointed to Aaron Hicks and Gary Sanchez for this loss. The fear has been that as the regulars return, replacing the spunky replacement players, the Yankees would actually get worse — and begin to resemble the 2018 squad that hit all the homers but struck out a ton and never got those Runners in Scoring Position in.
And so there was Aaron Hicks up with the bases loaded and 1 out in the 3rd, in a scoreless pitchers duel between Blake Snell and Masahiro Tanaka — in a position to put the Yankees ahead possibly for good. And he struck out.
As Yankee stat guru Katie Sharp put it on twitter, “Aaron Hicks is now 3-40 (.075) with the bases loaded in his career. That’s the lowest BA among active players (min. 30 PA).”
Aaron Hicks is now 3-40 (.075) with the bases loaded in his career. That's the lowest BA among active players (min. 30 PA). https://t.co/xjAuN4ZOCc
— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) May 18, 2019
The Yankees were lucky to score a run on a wild pitch to Gary Sanchez, who proceeded to strike out. It was 2018 all over again.
We'll take that. pic.twitter.com/EeQVfkSuZg
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) May 18, 2019
And that was the only run the Yanks were to get in this game — which went 11 innings, finally won by Tampa on a homerun by Austin Meadows off Luis Cessa in the 11th (Brandon Lowe had tied it on a homerun off Tommy Kahnle in the 7th).
More 2018 Baseball in the 11th, Crushing Final Hopes
To cap it off, in the bottom of the 11th, down 2-1, Luke Voit led off with a single, giving Yankee fans at the stadium on a beautiful May Saturday afternoon hope that the plucky 2019 Yankees were launching yet another comeback. But then Aaron Hicks was up again — and he struck out. Then Gary Sanchez hit into a double play to end the game.
Tampa Pitching = the Real Reason for the Loss
Note that Aaron Hicks went 2 for 4 in this game. The Yankees mostly lost because they went against some terrific Tampa Bay pitching, which has them back in 1st place with the win over the Yankees. Blake Snell is last year’s Cy Young award winner — he went 6 strong innings and struck out 9, allowing that one run on the wild pitch. Tampa has a strong ballpen featuring Emilo Pagan, who is pitching to a 0.61 ERA. He pitched 2 innings and struck out 5. Hunter Wood (who hasn’t allowed a run this year in 7 innings) pitched a scoreless 10th for the win; Jose Alvarado, who the Yankees beat up the night before for the comeback win, got the save. He’s been lights out this year before the Yanks got to him Friday night.
The Yankees held their own against that pitching — Tanaka was lights out before getting hit on the shin with a ball — that he made into an out — and removed after 6 innings. Zack Britton, Aroldis Chapman, and Jonathan Holder all pitched scoreless innings.
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) May 18, 2019
Gio Urshela got 2 more hits and is batting .353. DJ LeMahieu (.309), Gleyber Torres (.288), and Brett Gardner all got hits as well. Sanchez went 0-5. Cameron Maybin and Austin Romine also went hitless.