Yankees Forever Manager Aaron Boone remains difficult to reconcile. He seems to be a well-liked steady presence who, despite his in-game deficiencies, is able to keep his players loose under the tightest microscope in baseball. On the other hand, his Yankees team is currently collapsing fantastically for the second straight season, so that whole “steadiness” thing might be a 2019 illusion.
Boone either comes with an outdated benefit or no benefit at all, but he’s maintained the front office’s trust (and co-opted it), which is why he’s been locked down for the two seasons after this one, likely no matter how it ends.
Asked after Thursday’s dead-behind-the-eyes series-opening loss to the Blue Jays about the team’s standing in the AL East, less than 24 hours after their season was “revived” by Josh Donaldson’s grand slam, Boone couldn’t have seemed less worried about his team eventually “playing well.” That’s what he has to say. Don’t talk about the opponents. Talk about yourself and how to get out of this mess.
Only problem? Boone claimed his guys “haven’t played well enough in the last 10 days” … which is true. They have not, going 3-7 during that span.
That ignores, though, the many, many days before that where they also haven’t played well. The 9-18 record since the All-Star break. The 12-23 mark since the night at Fenway Park where Alex Verdugo delivered and the clock struck midnight back in July. The several weeks before that game, where the Yankees seemingly had to claw back from an early deficit in every contest from Tampa to Pittsburgh, winning in unsustainable fashion for a 15-game stretch before everything finally turned to dust.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone unconcerned about dwindling AL East lead
So, yeah. The 10 games, but then also the other 10, and the 10 that preceded them, and maybe every cluster of 10 back to the middle of June. But nothing to worry about. As long as you play better.
A nine-game lead is nothing to be ashamed of, especially with three more potential make-or-break home games with the Blue Jays still ahead of them. But based on the past month’s worth of labor, Yankee fans stumble into every contest calculating what happens to the standings if they lose, not holding out hope for a win. Pending another rain delay and dramatic grand slam, the Jays have three more chances to prick the Yankees’ balloon this week, just like they did last Sept. with a four-game sweep at Yankee Stadium that upended the standings.
The Yankees didn’t lead once in that four-game series. Through the first game this time, more of the same. But yeah. The manager’s good to stick around. Just gotta play better. The Mets come to town on Monday with deGrom and Scherzer for a two-game set against Domingo German and Frankie Montas. But it’s all about our guys. Just look at those names! Clearly good enough to compete. Just gotta grease the wheels.
Boone responded confidently to hearing, “Fire Boone!” chants as Aroldis Chapman walked the bases loaded on Wednesday before Rays catcher Francisco Mejia cleared them. Of course he did. He was talking to the media in the wake of a season-saving Josh Donaldson grand slam. He had both job security and a temporary momentum cloud wafting around him.
Less than 24 hours later, that momentum completely disappeared when his team somehow missed the memo that they were supposed to show up for these remaining games.
Didn’t change the whole “job security” thing, though. So expect more of the same, whether the AL East lead dwindles or miraculously expands.