Yankees Aaron Boone must learn to manage the bullpen fast

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 29: Manager Aaron Boone
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 29: Manager Aaron Boone /

One could make the argument that both Yankees losses were a result of Aaron Boone’s blunders while mismanaging the bullpen. He’d be wise to learn fast that it’s the ‘pen that will or will not determine this season’s success.

I’ve written three articles about the blunders Yankees manager Aaron Boone has made with the team’s bullpen. Today, I finally understood that he does not have a clue about how to correctly run the relief core. The problem is that Boone truly believes that he does.

Come on people! After his decision to walk Josh Donaldson to face Justin Smoak and then allow David Robertson to stay in the game when he had Aroldis Chapman, the highest paid closer in history, in his bullpen and available for a four-out save, that was enough to call his bluff.

Then on Wednesday, and please stop laughing friends, after a fantastic performance by the Yankees’ Magnificent 7-plus, in building a five-run lead into the ninth inning, Boone wastes Chapman to secure the win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Is Chapman now the mop-up guy? Please, say it ain’t so Mr. Boone! Where is the justification?

Nobody has talked about Aaron Boone’s antics in the home opener, because Sir Didi and the rest of the team bailed him out

Boone almost succeeded at throwing away Tuesday’s 11-4 victory. Here’s what happened.

The Yankees were able to build a 4-1 lead behind a Gregorius double in the second inning followed by an RBI single by rookie Tyler Wade. Then it was a three-run homer by Sir Didi in the third with Aaron Judge and Brett Gardner aboard the basepaths.

Jordan Montgomery certainly pitched well enough, holding the Rays to one run on two hits over five innings and just 80 pitches, while racking up four strikeouts and four walks.

Taking out Montgomery in the sixth inning, and each of the Yankees starters thus far has made no sense considering the way he used the bullpen and conflicts with his recent comments to Brendan Kuty of NJ Advance Media.

Boone stated in part:

"“I also think it’s critical in the regular season to, over time, to be an elite level club or to have a chance to win the division, you’ve got to be able to get length out of your starters. No matter how great the (bullpen) is, for them I think it be as good as I think they can be, we’ve also got to protect them. You start overusing guys early on, that shows up in injuries or it shows up in the second half. ….”"

I remember how Boone charged the mound to take out Sonny Gray after just four innings, 89 pitches, and eight K’s in the final game of the Toronto series. Montgomery threw just 80 times in the home opener, Sabathia tossed 84 pitches and Tanaka, 79, in their respective starts.

Would someone please ask Mr. Boone to explain exactly what length is? Does he really expect his starters to go seven innings on 79- 89 pitches?

Anyway, let’s go back to the home opener. It was top of the sixth inning, and Boone handed the ball over to rookie Jonathan Holder. The first two hits were really pounded by the Rays’ batters, but Boone seemed frozen as he watched the third hit of the inning that led to all three runs scoring before finally removing Holder.

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As I watched this debacle unfold, I said to myself after each of the first two hits, “He’ll take him out. He has to take him out.” I’m quite sure every fan in the stadium, or watching the game on some device, went through the same agonizing experience.

Then I was screaming at the TV, “He can’t possibly make the same mistake again,” but Aaron Boone did not move. It was only after the third excruciating hit dropped into right field that he started out of the dugout, but even his trip to the mound to remove Holder, seemed late and indecisive.

The lead is still 4-2, so you have to bring in your best and most consistent reliever this year, Chad Green. Right? Wrong, Tommy Kahnle is Boone’s selection. Lucky for the Yankee manager, his club picked him up.

Now back to game three of the Jays’ series, and blunder after blunder after blunder. As I explained in my piece, Yankees: The Tyler Austin show and Aaron Boone’s blunders:

"Bottom of the eighth inning, and again, we expect to see Green, Kahnle or even D-Rob, but Boone sends Betances BACK out. Why? He wasn’t exactly dominant the previous innings.As a matter of fact, Betances wasn’t consistent at all this spring, so why would the Yankees use him for multiple innings and risk his waning confidence? Leaving Betances in after sending Rothchild out to the mound was not only a bad call, but it humiliated the Yankees’ pitcher along with the entire team in that clown show of an inning."

Mr. Aaron Boone is decimating the Yankees’ bullpen with his inability to pick the right guy at the correct time and let him do his job. This behavior will lead to many more unnecessary losses that could cost the Yanks the division, and maybe much more.

I am not yet calling for Aaron Boone’s ouster as manager. I am not even sure that he is the actual manager of the team. I’ve always suspected Brian Cashman is pulling strings from behind the curtain, and that would explain many of these questionable decisions.

It has the smell of a Cashman power grab and his trying to be both GM and manager. It might also explain the firing of an uncontrollable Joe Girardi, and the hiring of a very controllable guy that has zero experience to manage a championship caliber team, with high expectations and a team that is “all in” this season.

Brian Cashman is full of himself right now and with good reason. He built this team from top to bottom. After year’s of abuse by those attributing his success to his inheritance of a “ready built club,” Cash may feel that he and he alone can win No. 28.

Next: Yanks should lockup Didi long-term

However, we don’t know that for sure, and until proven otherwise, I feel the Yankees should consider putting in a bullpen coach that will show Aaron Boone the error of his ways. But then, would Cashman allow it?