Sunday, I listened to the post game comments of Yankee manager Aaron Boone and Mets manager Luis Rojas after another Yankees’ loss and a frustrating game at Citi Field as the Mets lost and failed to get a three-game sweep over the San Diego Padres.
Yes, a contrast from two managers. A sign that there are continuing issues for the Yankees after a two-game interleague sweep at the hands of the Phillies and indications the Mets are viable in a division that can be in their hands.
So in mid June the Yankees have dug themselves a hole. A team that’s supposedly built to win, and with an All-Star lineup, the Yankees are in Fourth place in their division and are very much in trouble. One reason could be attributed to Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton rarely being in the lineup at the same time.
When the pitching goes sour, as has been the case recently with their rotation, and with closer Aroldis Chapman giving away two wins, then there is every reason for Aaron Boone to vent his frustration. That was apparent in his response to a few Zoom post game questions.
“No, I know them too well,” said Boone responding to a question about his team facing adversity and accepting a losing mentality.
The Yankees have lost seven of their last nine. At 33-32, they are seeing their slowest start of 65 games since 2016. Yankees trail Tampa Bay by 8.5 games in the division. They’re off on Monday and begin a three game series Tuesday evening in Buffalo against the potent Blue Jays.
Boone and the Yankees are dealing with adversity. Though, Boone in another era, would be concerned about job security if the late George Steinbrenner was around to see this.
And one never hears Boone vent his frustration as he responded “I don’t think there’s any getting used to freaking losing. Hell no. Get the hell out of here with that.”
But the questions have to be asked because the Yankees are in a position that is beyond their territory, and there is a contrast with an always positive and complacent Aaron Boone because the pressure is building now to win ball games or else?
The answer to losing 12 of the last 16 ballgames? Well you can’t fire 26 players, so the manager or coaches are culprits when a team built to win is playing at this level. There is every reason to believe the Yankees will respond and dig out of this hole with a roster capable to turn this around.
This time it’s not all about the analytics. It’s not about pitch counts, or innings pitched. It has nothing to do with following the numbers. The Yankees continue to see runners get caught on the base paths as they lead baseball in that category.
So, yes, there is a contrast with the two local teams. because the Yankees are looking at the standings this time of year and are not accustomed to looking up at three teams ahead of them in the division. They may be witnessing a season slip away if the wins don’t come fast.
The Yankees on a pace now to win 83 ball games, a number that would not have them qualify for the postseason.
And it will be interesting to see the contrast between Boone and Mets’ manager Luis Rojas and what awaits a July 4 weekend when the teams meet for the first three of six interleague games at Yankee Stadium.
So where is that contrast with Boone and Rojas? Listen to the comments. Look at their expressions. Rojas, dealing with adversity of the injuries and the Mets utilizing a makeshift lineup of depth, while making a case for manager of the year.
The Mets were built to have reinforcements, a good bench, and bullpen improvement. Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, and Taijuan Walker have been solid and pitching to an under 2.00 ERA in a NL East division meant to be superior, but one that has played to mediocrity with a third of the season complete.
Need I say more about the play of Billy McKinney, a steal for the Mets and the Brewers looking at the box scores, perplexed as to how they let him get away so easily.
Regardless, the other baseball team in New York is a contrast to what is going on in the Bronx as they retain their hold on first place.
But it’s that contrast with the managers. Rojas has earned his due, despite pulling Joey Lucchesi from facing the Padres’ order a third time Sunday and utilizing a bullpen that was short.
Instead, analytics or not, Jeurys Familia was a reminder of a taxed arm with up and down location. Jacob Barnes was no challenge for Fernando Tatis Jr. and the grand slam that prevented a Mets sweep.
Regardless, Rojas has depth that has not been seen from a Mets team since their unexpected run at a World Series title in 2015. Tell me a manager who would not vouch for a predicament of roster decision making, when Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeill, J.D. Davis, and Brandon Nimmo return?
You expect Carlos Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard at some point to rehab and return and that would boost the starting pitching rotation. The Mets are expected to be active and will shop for reinforcements before the non-waiver trade deadline.
Luis Rojas has never succumbed to the pressure of placing a makeshift lineup on the field. The frustration, in contrast to Aaron Boone, he has never shown.
“It was a tough game today,” Rojas said about using Familia for two innings. “It was a tough one.”
But it’s more frustrating and tough for Aaron Boone. There in lies the contrast .
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