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Yankees GBU – Aaron Boone needs to figure it out…

The New York Yankees had an absolutely dreadful series against the Houston Astros in Houston.  It’s not even that they got beat, it’s that they held the lead in their first two games and blew opportunities to gain ground on the downtrodden Red Sox.

The Yankees can attribute these three losses to a few things;  their bullpen imploding, their defense failing them, and their inability to get timely hits.  That’s the mantra of the Yankees’ season so far.  Their so called “historic bullpen” has been pedestrian at best, their defense has been atrocious, as noted here, and they can’t get a clutch hit to save their lives.

 

The Good

They finally hit Justin Verlander

The one positive the Yankees did do in this series was hit Justin Verlander.  They managed to get three runs off of him in six innings, something they haven’t done in what feels like forever.  Verlander has notoriously dominated the Yankees from his days in Detroit up until now, and it’s a positive sign that if they wind up seeing each other in the playoffs they know they can hit Verlander.

One player who has particularly struggled against Verlander was Aaron Judge, who was 0-for-13 against the ace, with seven strikeouts.  Judge ripped a solo shot to right field and added another hit against Verlander.  That should instill some confidence in the young star.

Masahiro Tanaka was brilliant, again

Masahiro Tanaka continued his fantastic beginning to the season with another great performance against one of the best hitting teams in the MLB.  Tanaka only gave up three hits and a solo home run to Jose Altuve in six innings.

Tanaka now holds a 1.47 ERA in his few starts and if the Yankees are going to make it through all these injuries they need to rely on Tanaka to be their ace.  James Paxton isn’t getting it done (more on that in a bit) and Tanaka can be relied upon in big spots.

 

The Bad

Aaron Boone’s mismanagement

Tell me if you’ve heard this before, but Aaron Boone is not a very in game manager.  He took Tanaka out too early, left Adam Ottavino in for too long, brought in the wrong guys at the wrong times (cough Zack Britton cough) and overall looked completely clueless out there.

Boone is the kind of manager that does best when things are going well.  He needs the Yankees to score runs to kind of take away his ability to manage the bullpen.  Very rarely does it work out perfectly, and he winds up with pie in his face due to all that mismanagement.

Blown opportunities

The Yankees had a chance to take two of three games against the Astros but ultimately blew each of these opportunities.  Zack Britton blew a game.  Adam Ottavino blew a game.  The Yankees were never able to come back after going down 4-3 and 6-3.

Clint Frazier had some chances to make catches that would have ended rallies (also more on that later) but he couldn’t get a handle on two fly balls and misplayed another one.  As mentioned in some previous articles, the Yankees NEED to be better on defense.  They can’t keep blowing these games because of their defense.

 

The Ugly

James Paxton is atrocious

James Paxton has not come as advertised so far.  Paxton is 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA and although he previously dominated Houston (4-0, 2.05 ERA) he gave up five runs in four innings against Houston.  Paxton also gave up two home runs and overall hasn’t looked nearly as dominant as he did in Seattle.

Maybe it’s the pressure of playing in pinstripes.  Maybe it’s just him having a slow start to the season.  Either way, the Yankees’ starting rotation is slim pickings to begin with and having Paxton becoming persona non grata on the Yankees is a terrible sign of things to come.

Clint Frazier’s defense

Clint Frazier has had a very positive impact on the offensive end but was a disaster in left field over the weekend.  He had two errors where he turned semi-routine fly balls into an adventure.  He misplayed both and instead of catching them shoestring style he tried to dive and hit off his glove.  Later in the game on Monday, Frazier had a case of the yips and instead of diving in for another fly ball he let it fall in front of him.

Frazier has also been very bad hitting cutoff men and has had a tough time with his arm strength.  Giancarlo Stanton isn’t Willie Mays out there, but he hasn’t cost the Yankees multiple games.  Frazier needs to work on his defense now that his offense has come around.

 

It was a disastrous series for the Yankees.  They need to get out of dodge, forget about this series, and move onto Kansas City.  It’s a welcome home treat for the Yankees as the Royals aren’t very talented and they need to jump on this opportunity.

Aaron Boone will continue to be a bad in game manager so the Yankees will need to win in spite of him.  Larry Rothchild hasn’t been much better as pitching coach and once again the Yankees will need to win in spite of him.  The Yankees have a ton of talent but talent can only get you so far.  They need to play as a team and win these next few series.

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