- Tim Kabel
About the Playoffs: The Yankees Lost to the Guardians 4-2 in 10 Innings
By Tim Kabel
October 15, 2022
First, a note - In a classy move before the game, the Yankees held a moment of silence and displayed the pictures of Bristol, Connecticut Police Sergeant Dustin Demonte and Officer Alex Hamzy, who were killed in the line of duty on Wednesday.
Now, to the game -
The Yankees lost a playoff game they should have won yesterday. They had plenty of opportunities but, did not capitalize on them. They had a lead but, could not hold it. After Giancarlo Stanton's first inning home run, the offense became dormant. There were some shaky defensive plays in the 10th inning that led to Cleveland winning the game. However, the biggest concern is the same one we've had all year long. The decisions made by the manager in this game not only impacted the outcome of yesterday's contest but could ultimately cost the Yankees this series. To borrow a line from my friend Brian, and with apologies to George Thorogood, yesterday, the Yankees were "Bad to the Boone."
After Giancarlo Stanton's first-inning home run, the Yankees were 4-for-39.
The Yankees used seven pitchers yesterday. Cleveland used four. If the series goes five games, they will play every day through Monday without a break. They do not have the option of calling up fresh arms from the minor leagues.
The Yankees' starting outfield was 0-for-14, with nine strikeouts yesterday. Some fans actually booed Aaron Judge late in the game. Apparently, the descendants of Brutus and Benedict Arnold were at the stadium yesterday.
On yesterday's date in 1976, Chris Chambliss hit a ninth inning home run off Kansas City's Mark Littell to give the Yankees a 7-6 victory and their first pennant since 1964.
The Big Story:
The Yankees offense struggled yesterday. They were shut down after the first inning. We have seen this before. The only difference was that yesterday, Aaron Judge was among the chief culprits in the offensive failure. He was forced to answer a barrage of questions about his "slump". As he noted, he has had two bad games in a row before. Everyone in the history of the game has. He just put up one of the most remarkable seasons any of us has ever seen and carried the team on his back for most of the season. Yet, after two games without any hits and seven strikeouts, he had Bob Costas wringing his hands in the broadcast booth, when he wasn't telling us that Justin Bieber was pitching for the Gardeners. Judge also had a phalanx of reporters poking and prodding him with questions, and a very small group of fans booing him. Talk about, "What have you done for me lately?"
It is utterly absurd that two games into the playoffs, anyone, even one person, would boo Aaron Judge. It's not as if he isn't trying. I realize that fans and the media are not prone to being patient, and often have knee-jerk reactions to things but, the fact that Aaron Judge was booed, is embarrassing.
Player of the Game:
Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-run home run and had a walk.
Gleyber Torres and Isiah Kiner-Falefa each had two hits. The entire team had six hits.
Better to Forget:
As mentioned above, none of the starting outfielders had a good game.
This is exactly what many of us were afraid would happen. Yesterday's game was a perfect example of Aaron Boone's shortcomings and inadequacies biting the Yankees. He was clearly outmanaged by Terry Francona. Everyone knows that Francona is a superior manager but, more often than not, the Yankees have enough talent to Boone-proof the team from failure. That is not always the case as their streakiness over the past two years has proven. Yesterday was a perfect example of how Boone can adversely affect the outcome of a game.
As usual, Boone used his paint by the numbers technique with the bullpen. He never manages as if he has an actual feel for the game. The moves he made yesterday were bewildering. Sadly, I believe they were equally bewildering to him. It's as if he does things just to do them or because he thinks that they're supposed to be done, without having an actual reason. Whenever he is asked about his moves after the game, he simply yammers and makes excuses.
Due to the rainout on Thursday, there will be no breaks for the rest of the series. If it goes five games, the games (four in a row) will be played straight through Monday. Boone used seven pitchers yesterday. Nestor Cortes was not as sharp as he usually is but, he did not get shelled either. He threw 92 pitches in five innings. Could he have gone a little deeper in the game? Possibly. Lou Trivino pitched 2/3 of an inning and threw 17 pitches. Wandy Peralta pitched one inning and threw 15 pitches. Clay Holmes pitched 2/3 of an inning and threw 16 pitches. Jonathan Loaisiga pitched one and two thirds innings but only threw 15 pitches. Any one of them could have been left in longer. There was no need to make the number of moves that Boone made. I suppose you could say Boone didn't want to overuse any individual pitcher but, using everybody is not the solution either. That brings us to the most egregious example of Boone's questionable managerial skills and decisions.
Boone decided to have Jameson Taillon pitch the 10th inning. He had other options. He had Miguel Castro. He had Domingo German. He had Clarke Schmidt. Yet, he chose the person who had no relief experience at all. Taillon should have been the last option. Ideally, he should have been held in reserve in case he is needed for a fifth game since Nestor will not be able to come back and pitch Game Five due to the lack of off-days. If it looked as if the team was going to win in a sweep or perhaps four games, and Boone wanted to get Taillon some work, there may have been an opportunity for that. However, choosing him over more viable options yesterday was mystifying. On top of that, Boone himself must not have been very confident in his decision, because he had Schmidt warming up pitch for pitch with Taillon. That made no sense. He was tiring one pitcher by using the other. If Boone didn't have confidence in the move, he should not have made it.
While it is true that other than Josh Naylor's double, Taillon was not hit hard, he should not have been in that situation. He did not record an out in the inning. Schmidt had to come in anyway to get the side out, which he did on nine pitches. Using Taillon seemed to be another one of those moves that Boone made simply because he could. There did not seem to be any real reason to it.
This has been going on ever since Boone became the manager. He has not gotten better. He has simply gotten older. Watching Boone manage reminds me of an old story about Casey Stengel. In spring training one year, one of the reporters asked him if a 20-year-old player had any potential. Casey responded, "Yes, he has the potential to be 25 in about 5 years." It is the same with Boone. The Yankees could easily win this series. Luis Severino and Gerrit Cole could win the next two games. However, they could just as easily lose, most likely as a result of questionable, ill-advised decisions made by the manager.
Bad to the Boone, indeed.
Next Up -
Tonight, the Yankees play the third game in the ALDS against the Guardians in Cleveland at 7:37 PM. Luis Severino will face Triston McKenzie for Cleveland.