Aaron Boone prior to the Yankees 11-1 win over the Red Sox Sunday in the Bronx said, “I love the job. Love coming to the yard.” His Yankees after 81 games are 54-27 and in first place by percentages after taking two of three from the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium this weekend. Friday night it was Yankees domination, Saturday night it was the Red Sox doing the same. Sunday night it was Yankees domination again.
With 81 games to go, and with the Yankees and Red Sox so evenly matched, want to place your bets those final three games in late September at Fenway Park will determine which team is the division winner? Wild card and a win or go home scenario is not on the Yankees’ or Red Sox agenda.
So after another Yankees’ win, Aaron Boone again seems to have the easiest ride as a rookie manager in baseball, so far. Any debate about an easy ride in this first half is a moot point because the Yankees, if you do your math correct, are projected to win 105 or more games.
Say more? Of course there can be more wins and providing there are no setbacks that every team encounters during the course of a 162-game season, and there will be one or two, this is becoming one easy ride for Aaron Boone and the Yankees to the postseason in October as winners of their division or one of two wild card teams in the American League.
The Yankees, with exception of sustaining a three game sweep at Tampa last weekend, and with their largest defeat Saturday night 11-0 to the Red Sox, won’t see many of those situations again in the second half of their schedule because the manager has the players.
In baseball, a manager always looks good with the proper players and with the Yankees that certainly applies.
Even with Gary Sanchez down with a groin injury, and with backup Austin Romine day-to-day with a hamstring issue, in stepped Kyle Higashioka. He hit one of five home runs off Red Sox starter David Price, his first hit also as a Yankee, that added to the scoring.
This winning philosophy has the proper pieces for a rookie manager. When asked about the first half, Boone said, “We’re not in this position without meaningful, younger players.”
Sunday night the Yankees hit six more home runs. Three off the bat of Aaron Hicks included two to right field and one to center. The rookie Gleyber Torres is one of those meaningful players and hit number 15 in his 60th career game.
Hicks recorded his first career three home run game. It was the first for a Yankee since Alex Rodriguez did it on July 25, 2015 against the Minnesota Twins.
“He gave us power to the right and we need that,” said Boone. And that has only added to what appears to be a record number of home runs that will be hit by the Yankees this season. With 137 home runs, the Yankees surpassed their franchise record prior to the all-star break and are a Major League best hitting the ball out of the yard.
So there is that definitive way for Boone to say that he loves this job. The only question could be those trips to the mound, and maybe too often, but it has worked. Boone lifted his ace Luis Severino last night after 6.2 innings. The bullpen makes Boone also love his job and at the halfway point the Yankees have the top pen ERA in the league.
Maybe the best pen in baseball. And with a score of 11-1 in the ninth, Boone went to the pen and used Dellin Betances. The closer Aroldis Chapman worked to get the final outs giving up two hits and a run, but Boone went to the backend to keep them sharp.
It worked, as every move has for Aaron Boone this first part of a season that is headed to the record books.
Guys came out and executed,” Boone said. “All great at bats.” And with the exception of four shutouts against them, most if not all of the Yankees at bats have been executed well.
Said Boone about his ace Luis Severino, and his Major League leading 13th win, “One of the better pitchers in the game. Got us deep.”
Deep enough for the Yankees to continue this record pace and the only blemish is to get Sonny Gray on track. Boone is confident that Gray will be there in the second half but the Yankees always seem to get what they want. GM Brian Cashman is busy working on the phones as Boone awaits the return of Masahiro Tanaka from the disabled list.
The NL East leading Atlanta Braves are next for the Yankees. Three games in the Bronx beginning Monday evening should provide the same outcome and Aaron Boone will continue to enjoy coming to the.yard.
And he should enjoy every moment because this manager has a team that is on pace for a record breaking season. Game Number 82 should be just as enjoyable as the first 81.