Yankees fans will remember the team’s Memorial Day weekend losses to the lowly Detroit Tigers in Comerica Park for a very long time. The three-game series sweep to one of the worst MLB teams revealed more about manager Aaron Boone’s questionable decision-making and leadership than anything else.
Ironically, the television broadcast of the first game of the series with the Tigers on a cold Friday night began with Yankees announcer Michael Kay informing viewers how “terrible” the Tigers are playing. He said the Tigers were one of the most woeful teams in baseball, and they were on their way to a 100-loss season.
The Tigers’ poor won-loss record, according to Kay, was primarily due to the team’s “awful” pitching – particularly the relief pitching – bad hitting, and terrible defense.
They are certainly in a rebuilding mode, Kay authoritatively told the TV audience.
In the first game, with the Yanks clinging to a one-run lead in the bottom of the 10th inning, relief pitcher Justin Wilson was one strike away from closing the Tigers out. Instead, Robbie Grossman hit a fastball delivered down the heart of the plate for a walk-off, two-run home run. The home team won 3-2, a devastating loss for the men in pinstripes.
Kay lamented about the painful Yankee extra-inning loss on the air at the end of the night. Yankee hitters were a dismal 0 for 10 with RISP.
The Yankees offense was also MIA in the second and third games of the series. The Bombers again lost to the Tigers, this time 6-1 in the second game — and, not to outdo themselves, the Yanks lost the third and final game by a score of 6-2. Deficient starting pitching, sloppy fielding, and lackluster hitting (especially with runners in scoring position) by the boys from the Bronx accounted for the final two losses.
For me, the Tigers series revealed a set of significant problems with the dugout management of this Yankees team. As the Yankee Skipper, Boone’s decision-making, particularly in four leadership areas, is why the club struggles to remain competitive in MLB’s American League East Division.