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Aaron Boone pulls all the right strings in Wild Card victory

Aaron Boone has been criticized time and time again for his poor in game management.  He’s been told that he’s leaving starters in for too long, or not long enough.  He has to constantly be reminded that every move that he makes is under the watchful eye of the loyal but ruthless Yankee fans.  In the biggest moment of his managerial career, he was masterful in pretty much every aspect of the game.


Boone was criticized for tapping Luis Severino as the starter for the Wild Card game.  If anything, Severino was the third choice in the mind of most Yankee fans.  However, Boone knew that Sevy would have all the confidence in the world having his name called again, and Sevy proved him right.  After four plus innings of strong pitching, he showed Yankee Stadium and more specifically the Oakland A’s what kind of pitcher he can be.

Boone made another curious move that worked out, this time bringing in Dellin Betances to clean up Severino’s mess in the fifth inning.  Betances rose to the occasion, getting three straight outs and then pitching another scoreless inning.  If you had told me that Betances pitched two innings in a do or die game, I would have fired Boone right on the spot.  He was absolutely right though and instilled even more confidence in Betances.

The decision to bring in Zach Britton in the eight was curious considering there were three righties up in a row, and it didn’t work out.  Britton gave up a two run home run to Khris Davis and looked shaky throughout the inning.  In fairness, with a six run lead Boone may have wanted to preserve Chad Green for any long relief either Wednesday night (if needed) or against Boston.


Boone constructed the lineup in a way that there were no real weak spots.  Andrew McCutchen is a walk machine and is extremely patient at the plate.  Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks can produce like no other and sliding Luke Voit into that five spot made a lot of sense.

Listen, it’s not rocket science considering the Yankees have multiple All-Stars and future All-Stars in their lineup, but Boone could have went a couple of different ways but made all the right moves.  Instead of starting Brett Gardner, he kept a hot McCutchen bat in there.  He hid Gary Sanchez in the back of the lineup because his confidence isn’t there yet, and it was well warranted as Sanchez grounded out three times.  Aaron Boone deserves a lot of blame for some poor play earlier in the season, but he also deserves credit when credit is due.


Boone also made some good defensive decisions for the Yankees, including replacing Miguel Andujar with Adeiny Hechavarria at third base.  Hechy wound up making a beautiful leaping catch to save David Robertson in the seventh.

Some other smart moves include putting Brett Gardner in left field for his speed and glove, and replacing Luke Voit with Neil Walker at first.  The biggest thing that Boone DIDN’T do was put Austin Romine in for Gary Sanchez later in the game.  Sanchez was surprisingly steady behind the plate on Wednesday.  He called too many sliders for Luis Severino, but his defense was sharp and he seemed to be much more attentive.  Boone’s decision to leave Gary in can only boost his confidence going forward.

Aaron Boone once again deserves all the credit in the world by not trying to do too much yet also making all the right moves.  Some moves that seemed questionable at first worked out perfectly, and now the Yankees are set up for the Boston series.  While that may not have been the end goal, the Yankees are on their way to hopefully bigger and better things.  Aaron Boone is one of the reasons why, and it feels good to finally be able to say that.

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