Yankees: Aaron Boone’s pushed all the right buttons in Game 3 clincher
Last October Aaron Boone received a ton of criticism in his first taste of the postseason as Yankees manager. This year he’s off to a great start after he managed a perfect game Monday night to help his team sweep the Twins and advance to the ALCS.
After their 5-1 win in Game 3, the Yankees have now beaten the Twins in an incredible 13 straight postseason games. Minnesota has lost 16 straight overall in October as they were once again dominated by New York during this series sweep. The Bombers outplayed Minnesota in every facet over these past three games outscoring them 23 to 7.
It was a total team effort by the Yanks with everyone contributing including their second-year manager. He pushed all the right buttons throughout the series especially in Game 3 to put the Twins away for good.
Coming into the game with Luis Severino starting you knew Boone was going to be very aggressive with his bullpen. That’s something he wasn’t last postseason during their ALDS loss against the Red Sox when Boone admittedly stuck with Severino and CC Sabathia for far too long in Games 3 and 4. We’ll never know if the Yankees would have won the series or not had Boone gone to the pen earlier in those games, but he’s clearly learned his lesson and hasn’t made the same mistake so far this October.
Over four innings Severino battled and shut down the Twins offense despite not having his best stuff. It was a gutsy outing by Sevy who bent but never broke and got out of some huge jams including a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the bottom of the second. After his first and only 1-2-3 inning in the fourth, Severino was at 83 pitches and probably could’ve gone one more inning but with the team leading 2-0 Boone wisely went to the pen to get the final 15 outs.
Considering it was only Sevy’s fourth start all season Boone definitely made the right decision because the Yankees bullpen was very well rested after the day off on Sunday and after not being overworked during the first two games in New York. Tommy Kahnle was the first man out of the pen and got the first two outs of the inning after allowing a leadoff single. With Nelson Cruz due up as the tying run, Boone called on Adam Ottavino who promptly walked the Twins slugger on four pitches.
For the second time this series Boone then removed Ottavino after walking the only batter he faced. He went to Chad Green who got the lefty Eddie Rosario to ground out to end the threat on an outstanding diving play by Gleyber Torres in shallow right field. Green was the better matchup in that spot and he followed that up with a clean sixth inning. He then allowed a leadoff single in the seventh before Zack Britton took over to pitch a scoreless inning to preserve the Yankees 3-0 lead.
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Prior to the bottom of the seventh Boone made another great decision to replace Giancarlo Stanton in left field with Cameron Maybin. The move was made for defense but Maybin made his skipper look like an even bigger genius when he launched a solo home run in the top of the ninth to extend the Yankees lead to 4-1.
I’m sure Boone was hoping to get more than just six outs out of Kahnle, Ottavino, and Green but it turned out fine because Britton and Aroldis Chapman were rested and ready to get the final nine outs. Britton allowed a solo shot to lead off the eighth but he got four outs and then Chapman came in to close the door and finish the sweep.
Monday night marked the first time all season Chapman was asked to pitch more than one inning but he was in a great position to do thanks to Boone. In September the Yankees closer only pitched 4.1 innings because Boone wanted him to be prepared to get more than three outs multiple times throughout this postseason run. The same for Britton who only pitched a season-low seven innings in September.
Resting their high leverage relievers during the final month of the regular season was a brilliant move by Boone and the rest of the coaching staff. Last night proved why and looking ahead to the ALCS they’ll all be extremely well-rested because the Yankees won’t play Game 1 until Saturday.
The Yanks will wait to face the winner of the Astros/Rays and hope that the series goes to a Game 5. The Astros are still the favorites to win it with a 2-1 series lead but if they have to use both Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole to put the Rays away that could be huge because then neither of them could start in Game 1 or Game 2 potentially.
Meanwhile, the Yankees pitching staff will be all set up exactly the way they want it to be thanks in large part to the moves made by their manager.