Yankees: Aaron Boone’s blunder costs Game 1 vs. Braves
Yankees manager Aaron Boone made a decision in the series opener vs. the Braves that could be a midseason sign that the rookie manager is still unsure of the best way to take the Bombers to a World Series Championship this season.
No rookie manager without prior managerial experience has ever taken his club to a World Series Championship in his rookie season. Despite leading his club to the second-best record in baseball (54-28), Yankees skipper Aaron Boone showed signs on Monday night why he might not be the first to do what no other man has done before him.
With the game on the line, in the bottom of the 10th inning and the score tied 3-3 vs. the best team in the NL East, the Atlanta Braves, Boone finds his club with men on second and third with one out. A sacrifice fly or a well-placed ground ball to second could produce the winning run.
This seasons rally buster Greg Bird was due up to face a left-handed pitcher on the mound. For the purpose of this article, it did not matter who was on the mound for the Braves. It could even have been Mickey Mouse.
The Yankees had right-handed hitter Brandon Drury getting splinters on his bottom after being called up from Triple-A, just aching for a chance to prove his worth after raking 314/.419/.488 in Scranton.
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After all, Drury is not a rookie. He’s been a tested and proven player at the major league level for at least two years. Drury had also played several games at first base in the minors while waiting to get back to the Bronx. So why else would the Yankees call-up Brandon Drury if not for just this situation?
So what does Boone do? He trots Greg Bird out to bat, and of course and as we all expected, Bird quickly strikes out swinging. You might ask yourself, as we all did, why go with Bird and not Drury? Because he hit a pair of homers the other night? Well, I believe there are multiple answers to this question.
Aaron Boone still doesn’t know how to make the tough decisions that the team needs him to lead them to essential wins, let alone a championship. This club has been guiding him due to the enormous talent on the roster. An experienced manager knows when it’s time to say ‘yes,’ and when it is the time to say ‘no.’ This certainly seemed like the time to tell Mr. Bird to take a seat with the game on the line, even if it did hurt his feelings and confidence.
Boone has been lucky in that he was given the reigns to a super talented team. He has been successful several times in spite of poor decisions that he was never called out on because the team bailed him out.
My readers will remember earlier in the season when I repeatedly wrote about Boone’s blunders. I took a lot of heat for doing so, but it was my opinion then, and it still is that the type of mismanagement when the club’s skipper is relying on late game heroics to reverse results caused by his questionable decisions. It’s unsustainable. No manager, even with vast experience, can win a championship based on that type of philosophy.
He seems to have become full of himself, even arrogant, and maybe with some good reason because the first half of the season has gone substantially well. Boone might even believe that whatever he does now has the “stamp of approval” from the Yankees front office and ownership.
Indeed, the press, his friends from his announcer days, have given him a pass. Maybe the fans, who pay the bills, have been tolerant because let’s face it, the Yankees are winning.
However, let me point out that the season is just half complete. The Steinbrenner’s want to win it all. Brian Cashman must win it all. He has worked so diligently to build this team to quiet the criticisms he endured for years.
When Cashman took over in 1998 as GM, no one gave him credit for the Bombers’ successes. They still say that Cash inherited a franchise ready to win. Most of all, the fans will become ruthless if the Yankees do not win it all in 2018, or at the very least make it to the World Series.
Now I am sure there will be sportswriters that will write how the Yanks missed an opportunity by the bad luck of Aaron Hicks’ double becoming a ground rule double, or some other silly explanation because of their not wanting to say out loud the truth — even laying the blame at Austin Romine’s feet who fanned after Bird.
They will say that no one can know what would have happened with Drury at the plate, but what is in question is Boone’s decision-making process, not what would have or could have been.
Fellow fans, the games played now count just as much as the ones in September. The Yankees, in my opinion, blew one on Monday because of Aaron Boone’s blunder. Not an innocent mistake either. An arrogant and annoying judgment.
So now I ask again, what if the gamble that the Yankees took with a zero experienced Boone fails? Just imagine the reaction by the owners, press and fans alike, if the Yanks fail to win the AL East by a single game and are forced into a one-game playoff.
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And what if they were to fall there? Is there a high probability that Boone’s managing career in the Bronx will come to an abrupt end? Would anyone else be quick to gamble on Boone again? I think not. Perhaps someone should remind Mr. Boone about all this before he makes his next questionable decision?