Another laughable Aaron Boone bullpen blunder costs Yankees in back-to-back losses

New York Yankees v Tampa Bay Rays
New York Yankees v Tampa Bay Rays / Douglas P. DeFelice/GettyImages

On Monday night, manager Aaron Boone caught the ire of New York Yankees fans because of his decision to remove Luke Weaver from the game — after he threw just six pitches — in favor of Clay Holmes, who had pitched two of the last three days and definitely didn't need to face a Seattle Mariners offense that was all but officially dead.

But Holmes was dinked and dunked (mixed with some walks in between) and eventually gave up four runs, which saw the Yanks lost 5-4. Brutal. Didn't need to happen. It seems Captain Hindsight-y, but Weaver's entire value is that he can be stretched to split-inning duty. Why not utilize it there and save Holmes for another day?

Then, on Tuesday night, the Yankees' bats were silent through six and a half innings of play. They trailed the Mariners 4-0. Clarke Schmidt was taken out of the game after five innings and 100 pitches. Would you look at that! A prime example of why you don't burn through arms when you don't need to.

In a 2-0 game, Boone went to Victor Gonzalez, who threw a scoreless inning. Then he called on Dennis Santana, who allowed two earned runs. That felt like it was it. But then the Yankees showed signs of life in the bottom of the seventh.

Gleyber Torres uncorked a three-run homer with two outs to make it a one-run game. The Stadium was back on its feet. "Let's Go Yankees" chants were heard during the broadcast. All it took was a couple of baserunners and one swing of the bat.

Another laughable Aaron Boone bullpen blunder costs Yankees in back-to-back M's loss

How did Boone respond? He called on Clayton Andrews to handle the top of the eighth. Wondering who Clayton Andrews is? Yeah, we were too before Monday's news.

Andrews was called up after Ian Hamilton was placed on the COVID-19 list. He's already been designated for assignment this season, but passed through waivers and got reassigned to Triple-A Scranton, where he's pitched to a 6.60 ERA and 7.2 BB/9. His 2024 debut with the Yankees came in a one-run game in the eighth inning following the worst loss of the season.

On Andrews' very first pitch, he allowed a solo home run over the short porch. Just like that, the energy was zapped out of Yankee Stadium and that two-run Mariners lead felt insurmountable, considering all the work the Yankees needed to do to even must three runs of their own.

Andrews gave up another hit and was removed from the game. And that's when Boone called on Nick Burdi, the flamethrowing reliever literally built for an eighth-inning appearance in a one-run game. Instead, he was now coming on in a two-run game with a runner on base, which made his appearance feel all the more futile. Burdi, incapable of split-inning duty based on his profile/injury history, was called upon to do just that after the Andrews blunder. The result? He allowed a homer to the first batter in the top of the ninth to make it a 6-3 game. Good night.

We'll reiterate this again: Boone is not going to manage the bullpen perfectly, especially with so little he has to work with. That said, he definitely needs to manage it more carefully, and back-to-back nights with glaring failures has elicited flashbacks to past decisions that plagued the Yankees in high-leverage spots.

And though it feels nitpicky to reference the Weaver blunder again, this is exactly how bullpen problems snowball. One misstep, and you're one Clayton Andrews away from flushing away a massive, momentum-shifting victory.