A number of factors contributed to the New York Yankees crashing out of the playoffs at the hands of the Boston Red Sox in the AL Wild Card Game.
Gerrit Cole surrendering a two-run blast to Xander Bogaerts with two outs in the first inning was the jolt of energy the Fenway Park crowd needed to impose their will on the game and they never looked back.
Giancarlo Stanton crushing two balls off the Green Monster that would’ve been a home run in every other ballpark comes to mind, too.
The turning point in the game came on the second of Stanton’s screamers, as Aaron Judge, who hit an infield single to knock Nathan Eovaldi out of the game after Anthony Rizzo homered, was thrown out at home after a questionable send from third base coach Phil Nevin.
Here we are, days later, and the decision is still being criticized.
Among those who ridiculed Nevin’s decision was Alex Rodriguez during the ESPN broadcast. Once Nevin caught wind of Rodriguez’s criticism, however, he fired back at the former longtime Yankee.
Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin clapped back at A-Rod for criticizing his decision to send Aaron Judge.
“You don’t have to overthink that one,’’ Rodriguez said on the broadcast. “I’m surprised of the magnitude of that mistake in this situation.”
Here’s what Nevin had to say.
"“The guy has never been in that situation, but thinks he has a good idea of what baseball is in that spot and he’s wrong. He’s never been in that position. I was in the right position, made the right read (and) had conviction in my send. But I get it. I get why people are upset and people are mad.”"
Rodriguez is nearly impossible to listen to when he’s on the call for ESPN, so we can definitely understand where Nevin is coming from. However, this is one of those rare instances where we have to defend A-Rod.
Anyone with two functioning eyes could have pointed out the flaws in Nevin’s decision to send Judge. Did it take an absolute perfect relay from the Red Sox? Without question. We’re still not sure how Kiké Hernandez played the ball so cleanly off the Monster. Sometimes you have to tip your cap.
At the same time, though, Judge wasn’t in full stride rounding third because Nevin was late to wave his arms. Nevin didn’t commit to sending Judge until the Yankees outfielder arrived at third base. At that point, Nevin should’ve put up the hold sign. Judge doesn’t have blazing speed to begin with and Joey Gallo was coming up with runners on the corners and ONE out.
If the Yankees had two outs, this is a different story. Alas, they didn’t and now Nevin’s decision will be discussed until the cows come home.
At the end of the day, A-Rod probably had been in a similar situation throughout his 22-year playing career and, while he’s a nightmare in the broadcast booth, had every right to second-guess Nevin’s decision.
This is where the 2021 Yankees have left us. Defending Rodriguez for a level-headed take while he called a Yankees game. 2022 can’t come soon enough.