If you weren’t already doubting the New York Yankees‘ ability to beat the Boston Red Sox in the Wild Card Game days, hours, and minutes before it started, it became obvious we were going to have a problem when Gerrit Cole hung an 86 MPH changeup dead center to Xander Bogaerts with two outs in the first inning.
2-0. Boom. Punch thrown, punch never returned.
OK, maybe you had a little more faith than that. Maybe you were one of the lucky ones. Maybe you dug deep and thought Aaron Boone would press the right buttons at the right time and get this incredibly annoying iteration of the Yankees through the muck and into the ALDS.
Where they’d encounter the Rays, and we’d write this list all over again.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, they’re led by a reactionary in Boone who doesn’t seem to have anywhere near the innate baseball sense to either galvanize a roster or pilot a championship run. Occasionally, his stars deliver for him. Often, they don’t. It’s confounding how easily he’s managed to minimize the group he’s been given by Brian Cashman — who hasn’t been absolved of anything, by the way. Joey Gallo’s not the answer. Anthony Rizzo’s part of it, but he’s gone.
The Yanks, with their wonky energy and underperformance, waltzed right into Fenway and got pantsed by an electric Red Sox group that … well, isn’t all that spectacular. Unfortunately, Nathan Eovaldi was empowered to be Gerrit Cole, and an injured Gerrit Cole was empowered to be Rick Porcello.
There needs to be some changes made this offseason. We’re not sure if there will be.
But, for old time’s sake, let’s give you three more moments when Aaron Boone piloted the 2021 Yankees directly into the edge of a cliff. Please … please … let this be the final time we have to write about Boone’s tenure in the present tense.
3 moments when Aaron Boone and the Yankees blew the Wild Card Game
3. Aaron Judge Being Canned at the Plate
It’s “Aaron Boone AND the Yankees,” not just Aaron Boone! Wise up, haters.
This one falls on Boone’s coaching staff, which, like so many tree branches from Boone’s out-of-touch body, never has any idea what to do with momentum. Momentum is real. It’s the life blood of a postseason run. You can get it by pushing the envelope, hustling in a moment that doesn’t necessarily call for it. Punching your fist in the air after a routine double, making sure the dugout hears you. Feels you.
The Yankees, for some reason, haven’t had real swagger in centuries once the postseason rolls around. They become a different team. A shrinking violet.
New York had momentum for exactly five seconds in this game, from the moment Anthony Rizzo’s home run snuck around the Pesky Pole to the second what should’ve been Giancarlo Stanton’s second home run of the game smacked off the Green Monster. Still confused about that.
Everyone in the building knew Aaron Judge wasn’t scoring from first. Aaron Judge himself slowed down approaching third, content to keep the rally going against the leaky Red Sox bullpen.
Not Phil Nevin, who wanted to make a name for himself right then and there. It took a slowly-executed, methodical perfect throw to get Judge, but of course, that’s exactly what happened. The only people shellshocked in the entire stadium were Boonie and the coaches he’s always encouraged to be loudly, blaringly wrong in massive moments. Game over.