Yankees: Aaron Boone’s lineup decisions cost team in walk-off loss to Blue Jays

When your team can’t hit below-average pitching, that means your top guys need to be in the lineup as much as humanly possible. No position player (except Aaron Judge, we guess) is going to get overworked at the onset of the year. Everyone’s ready to go.

But the New York Yankees are treating the start of 2021 as if their lineup is humming along in July. Manager Aaron Boone has a new guy to bench each day, and on Wednesday it was DJ LeMahieu.

The Machine did start the first 11 games of the year, but why are we giving him a day off before an official day off … and when the team’s next game isn’t until Friday night? He’d already be getting 48 hours of rest even if he played today!

That gave way for Aaron Hicks in the leadoff spot and, well, you probably know how that went. 0-for-4.

No support for Judge on either side with Hicks leading off and Gardner batting third. Those two combined for an 0-for-7 day with a walk and a run scored.

Meanwhile, Judge did everything he could to help propel the team to victory (two home runs and three RBI), and it still wasn’t enough. Bo Bichette’s walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth off Chad Green gave the Blue Jays a 5-4 win.

Speaking of Gardner, he got the nod over Clint Frazier again, which seems to be becoming a trend. And the excuse of “balancing the lineup” simply doesn’t do it for us anymore. Hicks, Gardner, Rougned Odor and Jay Bruce gave the Yankees FOUR lefties on Wednesday. You do not need that many lefties when you’re facing TJ Zeuch, Trent Thornton, Anthony Castro and Rafael Dolis. You just don’t.

It’s clear there’s some sort of a lack of trust in Frazier. It could be his passive bat up until this point. It could be his shaky defense. But we don’t know for sure.

And Bruce? Forget about it. It’s safe to say fans are already done with him. He’s an outfielder playing first base and his bat has done absolutely nothing. He went 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position, grounded into a double play, and lined into a double play. An 0-for-4 day.

It’s been an absolutely dreadful showing for the veteran, who, at the very least, was supposed to provide quality at-bats and some power from the left side of the batter’s box. His one solo homer and bloop two-run single are all he’s got to his name.

And Boone didn’t pinch-hit for Bruce in the ninth!

We can continue to blame the players all we want, but the manager cannot be let off the hook. Boone’s pregame and postgame interviews are vanilla. Every answer is diplomatic or misleading. And for some reason, in an important rubber match ahead of a series against the Tampa Bay Rays, he opted to bench DJ LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton and Clint Frazier.

That’s not a recipe for winning. Your best players need to be taking the field early, especially when the roster is far from discovering a rhythm. Toying with the lineup against a Blue Jays team that’s played you tough for six games now is a big miss, and now the Yankees are 5-7 because of it.