If you strain your ears, you kind of, sort of heard the real Aaron Boone calling out for attention after the Yankees fell again, dismally, to the Atlanta Braves on Monday.
New York took a 1-0 lead, scratching across a run in the first. Atlanta answered back with a homer. Isiah Kiner-Falefa smacked a clutch hit to retake the lead with two outs in the second. Atlanta answered back with three two-out runs. From there, the Braves rolled, relentlessly attacking homecoming king Clarke Schmidt with the ferocity of nine lions. Conversely, once the Yankees went down, that was pretty much the game; the whole bullpen tried valiantly to clean up the mess and get 'em to the finish line, one night ahead of a Luis Severino start where they'll probably have to do the same thing all over again.
It was a disaster, but at least it was familiar.
After the "game" wrapped, Boone could only sit in the dugout and marvel at what the Braves were able to accomplish by employing a balanced lineup, calling their idealized vision of baseball "where you're trying to get to."
He's right. The Braves have hit all the right buttons. Their role players become stars because they're set up for success. Their stars are S-T-A-R-S, and they have a lot of 'em. And, yes, they're certainly balanced; Atlanta went right, left, right, left, right, right, left, right, left on Monday night. Sounded like Boone was a little jealous of both their attitude and roster construction after experiencing both first-hand.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone wishes he had a rugged, balanced lineup like Braves
And Ozzie Albies, who hit the IL after the game, wasn't even playing!
Whether it was an intended shot at Cashman's way of doing things or just wishful thinking, the reality is that the Yankees' head honcho has not prioritized balance whatsoever in recent seasons, watching the team grow exceedingly righty-heavy before attempting to course-correct at several consecutive frenzied midseason deadlines.
How has Atlanta's program surpassed New York's? Let me count the ways. Balance is one thing. Talent is another. Atlanta's player development pipeline has produced consistent insanity. The Yankees'? Anthony Volpe looks good now, but they could really use another two or three.
It's one thing to envy the Braves, the sport's current crown jewel. It's another to invoke lineup balance, something you don't have to be the mighty Braves to achieve. Boone is more likely than not to be a scapegoat at the end of this season, but kudos for dropping a buzzword in one of his final answers. It's tought to build a powerhouse lineup, but it's easier to hack it with lefties in the Bronx.