Aaron Boone Evaluation Survey: October 5th, 2020

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The Yankees are back on the upswing. It’s been a topsy-turvy year for Aaron Boone’s club, but last week, the team rebounded to advance to the ALDS against Tampa Bay. It’d be nice if the team remains on the up and up this week against the Rays, who had Boone’s team’s number this season.

As we do every Monday during the season, let’s get a feel for how everyone’s feeling about Boone’s performance. But before we get to the survey questions, here’s a brief summary of Boone’s last week at the helm:

  • The skipper pushed the right button by starting Brett Gardner over Clint Frazier against Cleveland. The vet reached base in five of ten plate appearances and contributed a couple of key hits. Boone simply played the hotter hand and it paid off.
  • Another good move: the timing of replacing Chad Green with Zack Britton in Game 2. Up 8-6 with two on and one out, the manager summoned Britton and got an inning ending double play. Just as planned.
  • It wasn’t all roses for Boone, however. There were a handful of questionable decisions made in Game 2 that could have cost the Yankees the game:
    • Masahiro Tanaka did not have it, but Boone pushed him into the fifth while up 6-4. It was the third time Tanaka would face the top of Cleveland’s order, and naturally, the first two batters reached. Only then did Boone make the change for Chad Green.
    • In the top of the 7th, Boone pinch ran Tyler Wade for Luke Voit after a leadoff walk in an 8-6 game. Cleveland tied it and Wade’s spot came up in the 8th with two on and two out, though Clint pinch hit there. Hindsight is 20/20, especially after Frazier struck out. Still, it would have been nice to have Voit remaining in a game that was far from over.
    • Cleveland’s acting manager for the series, Sandy Alomar Jr., baited Boone into pulling Zack Britton in the bottom of the seventh with the Yankees still up 8-6. Alomar put up righty Jordan Luplow in place of lefty Josh Naylor after back-to-back two out walks. Boone countered with Jonathan Loaisiga, who quickly gave up a game-tying double. Look, Loaisiga should have gotten the job done against Luplow, but Alomar noted how much better they felt about that matchup than Britton vs. Naylor or Luplow.

To see last week’s voting results, please click Read More below.

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7 Comments

  1. JG (Ben Francisco)

    Boone had a terrible game. I understand bringing Tanaka back for the 5th but he left him in a batter too long. Same with Loaisiga in the 8th. He also got too cute with the pinch running.

    Gotta give him credit for starting Gardy, though.

    Someone in the pen outside of Chapman, Britton, and Green will need to step up.

  2. Gerreddardit Cole

    I’ll give Booney a 5 in all categories, Derek. He really is mediocre at best and I fear the reason we’ll lose this series won’t be the players, it’ll be Boone getting thoroughly outmanaged by the great Kevin Cash.

    Decision Making – Boone is awful with in game strategy. He did play Gardy which paid off but Clint should start tonight against the tough lefty. We’ll be able to throw all RHB at Snell. I also like how he stuck with Higgy catching Cole to make him more comfortable. Last year he had too quick a hook with his pitchers and this year he has overcompensated and left Tanaka in too long and then left Lasagna in too long. Without Kahnle and losing trust in Crappavino he just doesn’t have as deep a pen this year.

    Communication with media – He’s about as forthright as the President’s doctors. Question: Was he on oxygen at any time the past two days? Answer: He’s not on oxygen right now. Very evasive answer and that’s all Boone gives especially when it came to Judge’s health. He lied.

    Clubhouse morale seems to be his strength. He’s kept it together all year despite the injuries. The club looked locked in during the Indians series but was going through the motions at the end of the regular season. Maybe they just get up for big games.

  3. dasit

    5 games in 5 days is a great test of a manager’s in-game skills
    let’s hope boone has a good week

  4. Tim Roach

    Look, this second guessing of the bullpen decisions of Boone are just flat out wrong. Let’s break them down one at a time:

    1. Leaving in Tanaka to start the fifth: You state that Tanaka “didn’t have it”, but that is just flat out a misrepresentation of events. He struggled in the first inning with the wind and rain and delay, but after that he was nails. He threw 28 pitches in the first inning, and then a total of 42 in the next three innings, where he cruised. Yes, he was lined up to face the top of the order for the third time, but he’d handled Lindor and Hernandez up to that point (no credit to Hernandez for a oppo bloop double in the first) and was ONLY at 70 pitches. He’s also a post-season monster. I had no issue with leaving him in there.

    2. Removing Britton in the 7th: Britton is not a multi-inning guy. He’d just walked two guys in a row, so he’d obviously lost the strike zone. He was at 24 pitches. And the next scheduled hitter was Jordan Luplow (inexplicably pinch hitting for Naylor). Three things about Luplow – he murders LHP, he can’t hit RHP, and he can’t hit high velo fastballs, especially from RHP. So, on paper, the Loaisiga matchup vs. Luplow is much more attractive than a tired Britton – Luplow matchup. It’s also VERY clear that Boone plans to use Johnny Lasagna as a late-inning short man, taking the spot of Tommy Kahnle. If you don’t like that, fine. But that is the move he is planning to make. So, if you want to argue about giving Loaisiga high leverage innings, that’s fine. If you want to argue that Britton should have stayed in the game, that just isn’t fine.

    3. Bringing back Loaisiga in the 8th: See above reasoning. Johnny L is officially in the circle of trust, and that is for two reasons – Ottavino has pitched his way OUT of the circle of trust, and Kahnle is hurt. You absolutely DO NOT want to start the 8th inning of a tie game with Chapman (remember, the Yankees weren’t the desperate team here, Cleveland was). BUT, I LOVED LOVED LOVED that he went to Chapman in that spot and not some other lower quality reliever (like Holder, for example) when Loaisiga got in trouble. You use your BEST in the playoffs. This is a huge improvement for Boone, and I loved to see it.

    Now, the Yankees absolutely dodged a bullet in rallying in the ninth against Hand, because the worst thing in the world would have been to use all of your power relievers for extended work and lose the game anyway. But Cleveland had already depleted their quality arms in the bullpen except Hand anyway. They basically only had Oliver Perez left. But, the Yankees were only in the spot they were in because of two things, and NEITHER of them had anything to do with Boone’s decision making – the two terribly called for sliders thrown (one by Green to Ramirez, one by Loaisiga to Luplow) that resulted in the two two-run doubles that actually made this game close. Have we not learned the lesson that Mark Wohlers made clear to the world in October 1996 – when you throw close to 100, don’t mess with the slider…

    • Thank you for this. I was especially going to comment on the Luplow thing. Completely unfair to criticize Boone for that.

      B-Ref keeps crashing on me, so I can’t get the combined stats, but here’s Luplow vs. RHP:

      2019: .216/.274/.299
      2020: .122/.265/.293

      Not only that, but Naylor had been either the Indians best or 2nd-best hitter across the two games. And Britton had walked the last two batters and we all know how quickly Britton can lose all control of the strike zone, and that’s not something that is going to be magically fixed by facing a lefty rather than a righty.

      Alomar brings in a righty with extreme splits, and Boone counters to bring in someone who counteracts those extreme splits. And Alomar doesn’t go back to bring in a different batter in response (I can’t remember who their options were and, honestly, I can’t be bothered to look). Boone took his chances with a righty who throws mid-to-upper 90s against a righty who can’t hit righties. It didn’t work, but that doesn’t make it the wrong decision. It’s on Loaisiga for not being able to get Luplow out, especially once he got to two-strikes.

    • JG (Ben Francisco)

      He left Tanaka and Loaisiga in a batter too long each.

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