The Yankees’ season ended last Sunday, and since then we’ve gone fully into season review mode. Over the last few days, we’ve been looking back at the good and bad of 2022. Now, it’s time to look at the stupid.
From bad bullpens, no-hitters, and ridiculous extra inning games, here is a look at the five dumbest Yankees’ games from the 2022 season.
The bullpen featured a lot of talent and a lot of pretty good performers in 2022, but could also be immensely frustrating. Aroldis Chapman’s Yankee career is almost certainly over after he struggled and then bounced on the team when he wasn’t guaranteed a spot on the playoff roster. Clay Holmes was awesome in the first half of the season, but then struggled in the second half, including this game against Cincinnati.
On July 12th, the Yankees seemed to be cruising to a 3-0 win against a Reds team that would finish with 100 losses. For the ninth, the Yankees sent out Holmes to try and finish off a straightforward win. He promptly failed to record an out, allowed five-straight Reds’ hitters to reach, scoring two runs. At that point, Aaron Boone went to Wandy Peralta trying to clean up the mess. He nearly did, but eventually allowed a two-out single to Jonathan India that put Cincinnati in front. The Yankees then put the tying run on base in the bottom of the ninth, but Gleyber Torres grounded into a game-ending double play. There were lots of other bullpen blowups that you could choose, but this combination of situation and opponent was arguably the worst.
Off the field, this was a memorable night. Derek Jeter was honored in a pregame ceremony and returned to Yankee Stadium for the first time in several years. On the field, the Yankees produced a performance they’d like to forget.
Just glancing at the box score, things don’t look too crazy as far as bad games go. The Yankees’ lone runs came too late, with the team going 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranding nine runners. However, the reason they were down four runs to begin with was due to this very bad play and complete brainfart from Aaron Hicks:
We had to fit this one in here somewhere. On June 25th, the Yankees were no-hit for the first time in 19 years — in a manner quite similar to that 2003 edition. Back then, it was an injured Roy Oswalt and five Astros relievers doing the trick. They fell victim to another combined no-no for Houston, as Cristian Javier and bullpen arms Héctor Neris and Ryan Pressly mowed through the Yankees with ease.
The cherry on top of this poor effort was that the Yankees then didn’t get their first hit the next day until the seventh inning.
This is the lone win to make the list, but it deserves it.
Still mired in their second half slump, the Yankees got off to a bad start in this one, with Minnesota scoring two first inning runs off Domingo Germán. The Twins then opened a 3-0 lead before home runs by Aaron Judge and Torres evened things up.
As the bullpen held things down, the Yankees had chances at a win in the eighth and ninth innings, but left runners in scoring position in both innings. In the ninth in particular, the Yankees probably would’ve won had Tim Locastro not been thrown out trying to steal second.
Both teams had chances in the 10th, with the Twins even having a runner thrown out at home plate. The game’s most infamous moment probably came in the bottom of the 11th inning. Judge and Torres both drew walks to start the inning, loading the bases. That brought Ronald Guzmán to the plate. Guzmán had been called up from Triple-A with the Yankees in a pinch, needing someone to play first while they dealt with injuries. His Yankee stint will probably go down as one of the less fondly-remembered ones among those that only lasted a couple games.
Guzmán was hitless when he got another chance in the 11th with the bases loaded and no one out. A mere fly ball would have won the game. But he grounded one to first, starting off a worst-case scenario double play:
To make matters worse, he seemed like Guzmán was somewhat ducking out of the way of the throw from home back to first.
Naturally, the Twins then immediately took the lead in the top of the 12th. The Yankees did rally for a win in the bottom half of the inning, but it took Oswaldo Cabrera breaking a 0-for-25 slump to do so, after he himself had grounded into an ill-timed double play in the 10th. To make matters dumber, this was the first game of a doubleheader that day.
There were certainly more meaningful stupid games for the Yankees this season, but nothing can top this one.
It was a battle of aces on this day in Seattle with Gerrit Cole and the Mariners’ recent acquisition Luis Castillo taking the mound, and the matchup delivered. Cole went seven scoreless innings, while Castillo went eight. Eventually, they both handed things off to their bullpens, who got the game into extra innings, which is when things got very dumb.
Let’s run down how the Yankees managed to squander their extra innings chances, which as you know, all start with a runner already on second:
- 10th inning: After a hit by pitch, the Yankees had two runners. In the next at-bat, Andrew Benintendi, who was the runner who started at second, started a little too far off second and got himself caught in a rundown. He stayed in it long enough for a pinch-running Locastro to move up, but neither of the next two hitters could do anything.
- 11th inning: An Aaron Hicks liner was snagged by a leaping Adam Frazier, who then doubled off Miguel Andújar at second. Jose Trevino lined out.
- 12th inning: This one you should just watch:
- 13th inning: The Yankees had a runner at third after an intentional walk to Judge and a regular one to Marwin Gonzalez. No crazy plays in this inning! The Yankees just left the bases loaded.
Eventually, the Mariners stopped squandering their own chances, and scored in the 13th off Jonathan Loáisiga, who still wasn’t back to his best post-IL stint. Just on its own, I think this game was a clear winner, but it was even worse for me personally considering that I was watching it while unable to sleep while dealing with COVID.