Yankees Manager Aaron Boone Is Under Fire For Letting Wild Card Lead Slip To Two Games [Opinion]

Aaron Boone
Lynne Sladky / AP Images

Heading toward the playoffs, the Yankees look a lot like a soapbox derby car that the Little Rascals built. The kind that has the wheels coming off just before the finish line. Manager Aaron Boone may not be getting publicly roasted by the Yankee brass, but the press and fans are laying a tremendous amount of the blame for the Yankees’ September implosion squarely on his shoulders. While it is true that the manager doesn’t hit, run, field, or pitch, he does make decisions regarding who does, and now more than ever, his judgment is being questioned.

After what has been characterized as an “embarrassing” 10-5 loss to Minnesota, NJ Advance Media reported that Boone couldn’t really muster an explanation for it in his post-game interview. “We’re not happy,” was about all Boone could say, and that did nothing to stop the onslaught of criticism from fans.

“We need to try harder.”

It actually fanned the flames a little as he was being called out for being too obvious.

What fans keep pointing out is that although GM Brian Cashman holds the purse strings, Boone should be making the roster decisions, and if he is, he is doing a lousy job of it. If he isn’t, he is too weak to lead the team. Analysts as well have piled in and questioned how Boone could run the team into the ground as badly as he has.

Everyone gets that the Yankees seem to insist on having Luis Severino ready to go for the wild card game, as reported by Newsday, which is why the rotation has been slightly bumped. What no one can figure out is, why use Sonny Gray to start the game to make that move? He is statistically the worst Yankee starter all year. So bad in fact, he was demoted to the bullpen where he is almost never used. Many call the move surrendering the game before it even started.

After pulling Gray with the game 3-1, he brought in rookie starter Jonathan Loaisiga for only his second ever relief appearance, and he wasn’t prepared. No one can blame him as he wasn’t prepared to enter in the third inning, although with Gray on the mound, it is arguable he should have been warm already. That was the second bad call by Boone. Then he went to Tommy Kahnle, with a WHIP over 1.50 entering the game who coughed up more runs and there went the game. Three pitchers who had no business in the roles they were being used resulted in a loss.

Analysts said, for the third time this month, that Boone gave a game away with bad decisions, per North Jersey. It has been repeated that he has no idea how to handle a pitching staff, which is unsurprising as he never managed or coached at any level until landing this gig, aside from a flag football team anyway. Boone consistently repeats he is trying to save arms to help win games later, which makes no sense as it is leading to giving away games now.

All of this pitching drama, using Sonny Gray to start and using starters as relievers while waiting on closer Aroldis Chapman to return, has people asking why Boone isn’t insisting on Justus Sheffield being available to pitch. Sheffield was named as the prospect that could have the biggest positive impact of any minor leaguer in baseball, per the Inquisitr, and he isn’t even on the active roster. Longtime brand-name analysts are asking if he knows what he’s doing at all, as reported at Barstool Sports.

Boone has dealt with injuries, but some say they are ones he enabled or created. Either by overusing players (Giancarlo Stanton), allowing guys to play through small injuries that got worse (Aroldis Chapman), or not mandating some of his guys get serious about taking care of themselves, people are calling Boone out. A prime example of the complaints is Gary Sanchez, as discussed at Yanks Go Yard, who is carrying too much weight to catch every day and has missed two months to groin injuries. Previous manager Joe Girardi brought it up last year, and for some reason Boone ignores it.

Barring an epic collapse, the Yankees will play in the wild card game, the question is will they play at home or on the road. At home would obviously be better, but the way they have looked dropping six of the last 10 games, they don’t look on track to make that happen. Not everything that goes wrong is Boone’s fault, but when the press asks what is going on as the team is imploding, he at least has to have a better answer than “We’re not happy.”