Aaron Boone had a Joe Girardi moment and then some Monday in Game 3 of the American League Division Series against the Red Sox.
The question going into Tuesday’s must-win game is whether Boone owns his gaffe(s) the way Girardi tearfully did in last year’s ALDS against the Indians.
Boone is a rookie manager who was in the ESPN booth before the dugout.
In the demanding mob of New York media, he had to analyze this:
-- Letting struggling starting pitcher Luis Severino, who took a 3-0 deficit into the fourth inning, start the inning.
-- Waiting until Severino loaded the bases in the fourth to replace him.
-- Replacing Severino with Lance Lynn over, say, strikeout-potential reliever Dellin Betances. Lynn walked in one run, then gave up a three-run double to Andrew Benintendi.
Boone basically shrugged off the second-guessing of his moves to hindsight. It didn't play well. The front office and managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner have yet to weigh in.
Under different circumstances, but with plenty at stake, Girardi handled the defining moment of his managerial career in a different manner, even if it was a day later.
It was Game 2 of the ALDS and the Yankees appeared on the way to evening the best-of-five series at 1 as they held an 8-3 lead entering the bottom of the sixth inning. With two outs, Lonnie Chisenhall appeared to have been hit by a Chad Green pitch and went to first. Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez reportedly yelled “foul, foul,’’ insisting that the ball had hit off the knob of Chisenhall's bat and motioned to the Yankees dugout to challenge the call. It went unheeded by Girardi.
Francisco Lindor followed with a grand slam and the Indians went on to win, 9-8, in 13 innings to put the Yankees into an 0-2 hole. Girardi basically explained that he didn't want to upset the rhythm of his pitcher by asking for a replay.
Girardi’s explanation was considered feeble and fired up talk radio, with hosts and listeners calling for his job. Reliever Aroldis Chapman liked a comment on Instagram calling the manager a “complete imbecile.’’ Chapman later apologized.
The blowback started for Boone on WFAN overnight with host Steve Somers fielding irate callers.
After a sleepless night, Girardi took full responsibility for his actions.
“I screwed up,’’ he said. And he repeated it three times. He added, “I take responsibility for everything, and I feel horrible about it . . . I screwed up. It’s hard. It’s a hard day for me. But I’ve got to move forward and we’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”
Girardi’s mea culpa seemed to galvanize the Yankees, who won the next three games to win the series and advanced to the league championship against the Astros.
Boone’s Yankees need two victories to advance and play the Astros. His pregame news conference is Tuesday afternoon.