Aaron Boone and the New York Yankees, who have had the pleasure of some of the league’s better bullpens over the last half-decade, have had to watch dozens of leads slip away due to an inability to slam the door shut, and one of the biggest offenders of late has been southpaw Zack Britton.
After recording a 1.90 ERA in the last two seasons, that figure has more than tripled to 6.19 this year. Having assumed the closer role while Aroldis Chapman is injured, Britton’s latest faux pas was giving up a walk-off home run to Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson after a furious comeback in the Field of Dreams game.
Britton spoke with Boone after that game and said that he believes he doesn’t deserve to be in the game in save situations, as his poor performance was hurting the team. Like any good manager, Boone took that statement into account and chose to list Britton for a game to get his mind right.
Oh, wait, hold on. I’m being told he didn’t do any of that and tried the same exact thing with Britton the next night, expecting a different result.
After Joey Gallo extended the Yankees lead with a two-run home run in extras, Britton was brought in to lock down the win. He failed to make it out of the inning, which is a bad look for player and manager alike despite the fact the Yankees ended up winning.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone can’t turn to Zack Britton in close games.
Having already used Jonathan Loaisiga, who has quite frankly earned a shot at the closer role, Boone went with Chad Green, who proceeded to send the game to extras thanks to an 86 MPH curveball right down the middle that Jose Abreu promptly destroyed.
Britton had to be bailed out by Albert Abreu, who has looked infinitely sharper than No. 53 despite his infamous Tampa meltdown. Britton even being brought into the game in the tenth shows that Boone really didn’t take Britton’s concerns into consideration.
The fact that Britton even had enough self-awareness to realize he was hurting the team in his current state is commendable, so trying to get his mojo back in some less dramatic situations might be what turns the tide and gets him back on the right track. Instead, Boone let him twist in the wind during the 10th once again.
During his prime in Baltimore, Britton was so dominant that he was essentially throwing one pitch (his hard sinker) and no one could touch him. Those days appear to be long gone, and it appears his confidence has been shot as well. Britton should be relegated to non-crucial situations until he proves deserving of a greater role once again.