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Yankees Hot Corner – Breaking down Aaron Boone’s managerial debut

Welcome guys to the new weekly blog on Double G Sports, Yankees Hot Corner.  This is most likely going to run after every series, because breaking down each and every game of an eight month long season is nearly impossible.  The Yankees took care of the Blue Jays yesterday afternoon by the final score of 6-1 after an emotional tribute and ceremony to the late Roy Halladay.

The Yankees were carried by their ace Luis Severino and a boatload of home runs and doubles by some of their big hitters.  Giancarlo Stanton may have been the darling of the day but Aaron Boone shined in his first game as an MLB manager.  Boone was composed throughout the game, especially after a troubling first inning that looked a lot like Severino’s disastrous  outing against the Minnesota Twins in the AL Wild Card game last year.  Let’s break down some of Boone’s best decisions of the day.

Taking out Severino before the end of the 6th

This may be a controversial take but I love that Aaron Boone took out Luis Severino after 5 2/3 innings.  After two walks to start the game, Severino settled down and was dominant, only giving up one hit his entire start.  Severino was cruising into the 6th when he walked Josh Donaldson and looked to be tiring out a bit.  Most of the baseball purists would disagree that Severino should have finished off the inning but Boone instead went to his bullpen and Chad Green pitched 1 1/3 spectacular innings.

The reason why it was such a good decision because it was literally the first game of the season.  Severino pitched well in Spring Training and looked great in his first start.  However, it’s a long season and the number one priority is getting out of the first few weeks without any injuries.  Pushing Severino at the beginning of the year could be ominous come September.  There’s no need to put out your young ace when you have the best bullpen in baseball.  Boone was able to get Green, Dellin Betances, and Aroldis Chapman all in the game to sharpen them up after being sparingly used in March.

Putting Betances in the game

Another controversial take but throwing Dellin Betances out there up six runs was a great decision.  Betances has been terrible as of late, finishing off a terrible 2017 season with more walks than one can count and a wild streak.  He gave up a home run to Kevin Pillar but settled down afterwards.

The reason for putting in Betances in early is simple;  He is still an integral part of the bullpen and he needs to get his work in.  Joe Girardi made the mistake trying to work out Tyler Clippard’s yips in the middle of the season, but Boone put Betances in a situation where he was allowed to pitch more freely with a lofty lead.  He probably won’t be used as regularly as he once was, but if Robertson, Kahnle, or Green get hurt the Yankees will need to rely on Betances later in the season.

Making a defensive substitution late in the game

Sometimes in baseball it’s better to leave players in and let the cards lie where they may.  However, Boone made a great defensive substitution replacing Tyler Austin with Tyler Wade and moving Neil Walker to first base.  Austin is a serviceable first baseman, but he’s no better than Walker who has played many positions in the infield and Tyler Wade is the Yankees’ best defensive second baseman.

In a crowded infield it’s important to give everyone some work early in the season.  Wade will be in the lineup mostly against righties until Gleyber Torres gets called back up to Triple A.  First base will probably be a rotation between Walker, Austin, and Austin Romine.  Putting Wade in the game gives him confidence in the field and spells Austin who has also been somewhat injury prone.  It’s a good move that will pay dividends later in the year when another inevitable injury is on the horizon.

Boone will not be perfect this year as he is still a rookie manager.  He’s going to make some mistakes that will be much maligned, but overall he had an impressive first go-around against the Blue Jays.  This team is built for the playoffs, and like Joe Torre Boone is there merely to keep the clubhouse upbeat and manage all of the egos.  He doesn’t need to be the best manager in the world, he just needs to not get in the way or try to do too much.  So far, he’s done a great job.  Only 162 more games to go.

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