For the season's remaining 43 games, the New York Yankees will need someone with an iron will and an endless vat of platitudes to stand in front of a frustrated firing squad. Aaron Boone (shown here working out in case DJ LeMahieu's calf doesn't hold up) is the man for the job.
Nothing truly matters anymore, and hasn't much mattered since just after the All-Star break. How do you answer questions about a season that's off its moorings? How do you defend the indefensible? Boone is about to either deliver a two-month masterclass or snap two days into the process.
He can start by justifying the team's decision to start Luis Severino and his 8.06 ERA (and rising!) against the powerhouse Atlanta Braves Tuesday night.
Some would say, "Nestor Cortes is injured!" is enough justification. I would, uh, disagree, given that literally any pitcher on the 40-man roster (Will Warren!) would be a more interesting choice than the Ghost of Sevy right now, for both 2023 and beyond (mostly beyond).
Let's just cut to the chase and take you directly to Boone's postgame press conference. Why bother watching the game? We already know how it'll turn out, and how Boone will sound after being thrown to the wolves to justify Brian Cashman's sunk cost.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone's press conference on Luis Severino vs Braves:
"I thought he actually made a couple good pitches there in the first inning. His compete was high. But you never want to create exit velocities 20 MPH higher than the pitch velocity that spawned them. For instance, a 90 MPH changeup getting hit 110 into the right-field seats? That's obviously not something we were looking for out of this start. We've got to reduce that moving forward. Got to get that exit velo down to 106, 107 at least."
"And, by the way, I thought the Braves hitters had some real solid swings. Can we make this about them, please? There was a moment there where Sevy was real close to turning the corner and getting to the second inning, and the Braves lineup just wouldn't let him get there. Credit to them."
"Yeah. Yeah, starting Sevy was my idea. So was bringing Sevy in for the second inning last start. That was my idea, too. No, you're wrong there. I'm not taking more responsibility for mistakes down the stretch in a carefully-curated strategy to turn me into the sole scapegoat for this massive disappointment. You're way off there. Way off."
"Ok, you know what? It was actually a two-man operation: I came up with it, then the analytics team backed me up and we decided to execute the plan. Yup. Just me, and also Michael Fishman. Cashman actually had no idea this was our plan. Not only did he not force us into it, but he honestly didn't even know we were starting Sevy until it happened. Seriously. He called me from the front office and was like, "...Is that Sevy on the mound?" And as soon as he started struggling, I was like, 'Oh, boy. I'm really gonna have to wear this one.'"
"Well, me and Fishy, actually. We're gonna have to wear this one."
"When will Sevy's next start be? Well, we're gonna have to talk that out. Everything's on the table. Everything except not using him. That's not on the table. That's on an entirely different table in someone else's restaurant, actually. A restaurant so far away that it's like, 'We're going there? That's where you want to go on your birthday? Because they sing to you? Dammit. Ok. Get in the sedan.'"
"Anyway, I came up with the Joey Gallo trade, too. Yeah, another one of my ideas. Cashman didn't even know we'd traded for him until he was in the lineup. How 'bout him, huh? He had a couple good swings. He was close to turning the corner when we traded him to LA. Alright, guys, I gotta go. Heading to Cash's office to learn what ideas I came up with today. Everything's on the table."