The New York Yankees didn’t stand much of a chance in the first two games of their series against the Toronto Blue Jays because their offense scored … two runs, but on Wednesday and Thursday, it came down to the skipper needing to push the right buttons.
Are you surprised to learn manager Aaron Boone did not do that?
It all started on Wednesday evening, when Boone left rookie Luis Gil in far too long (after he hadn’t made an MLB start since Aug. 17). Gil issued two walks, and for whatever reason, with his pitch count nearing 90 after just three innings of work, Boone left him in, and the righty walked the bases loaded.
OK. Now time to make up for it with the correct bullpen decision, right?
Not at all, unfortunately. Boone called on Lucas Luetge to face the top of the order and we’re still not sure why? For as good as Luetge has been this year, he’s not exactly “the guy” you bring in for that kind of a situation. He’s a soft-throwing slider/curve specialist.
Don’t you need a more powerful relief arm? Where was Wandy Peralta or Joely Rodriguez? They were there! They just weren’t chosen.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone could cost the team a playoff spot with his bullpen decisions.
Luetge’s first offering was a wild pitch. Run scores. 1-0, Blue Jays. Then Marcus Semien came to the plate after Corey Dickerson popped out, and the AL MVP candidate hit a two-run single. 3-0, Blue Jays. Toronto ended up winning 6-3 after they took care of the rest of the bullpen following Brett Gardner’s game-tying three-run homer.
And here we are on Thursday night. Once again, the Yankees go down early. The offense wasn’t helpful yet again, but Anthony Rizzo’s game-tying two-run homer in the sixth injected life into the team. Awesome! Well, not really. That lead evaporated in the top half of the seventh.
After Nestor Cortes left the game with six innings of two-run ball to his name, Boone called on … Sal Romano? Excuse us?
Romano, who has 15 total appearances and a 6.23 ERA to his name in 2021, had to face Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Randal Grichuk and Danny Jansen. Doable, but you only have three innings left in this one? Why not use better options?
After getting the first two batters out, Romano allowed a double to Jansen, and then came pinch-hitter Jake Lamb, who walked out of the nine-hole before Bo Bichette’s go-ahead single made it 3-2. Then Boone went to left-hander Wandy Peralta. Again, three batters too late.
Is Boone the sole figure to blame? Absolutely not. But on some nights, you need your manager to take control and press the right buttons. To possess some killer instinct. To show he knows what his “guys” can do, even if he’s down a few reliable arms. That’s what Yankees fans have worried about with him for over two years now.
And now there’s more evidence to build their case. What makes us think this will get any better as the games get more intense?