Yankees manager Aaron Boone conceded that he’d made a mistake on Wednesday night when he changed directions on closer Aroldis Chapman and decided to intentionally walk Kansas City’s Carlos Santana in the ninth inning to load the bases.
Chapman was protecting a one-run lead with two out in the ninth when Boone visited the mound to talk strategy. There it was determined Chapman would go after the veteran slugger. But Boone decided differently on the way back to the dugout and instead wanted Chapman to face rookie catcher Sebastian Rivero.
Rivero drew a four-pitch walk to tie the game and Ryan O’Hearn’s check swing single put Kansas City ahead. The Yankees won in the bottom of the ninth, 6-5, after a Gary Sanchez homer and Luke Voit walk-off RBI single.
Chapman look as angry as he has while with the Yankees, firing his glove and screaming in the dugout after the inning.
"He was upset and understandably so," Boone said. "He wanted to pitch to Santana. Even in hindsight — not just because it didn’t work out — I think the right move was probably to let him pitch to him."
"Frustration boils over," Boone said when asked about Chapman’s outburst. "We’re playing for a lot. Sometimes you’re going to get upset."
Asked about why he reversed course after a decision had been made on the mound, Boone said "I just decided when I got back to the bench . . . I didn’t want to see [Santana] beat us in that spot or [make Chapman] be too careful and that lead to a wild pitch.
"It was a decision I made in the moment and, after sleeping on it, I probably should have gone the other way."
Boone 'not ready to put Urshela in lineup'
Boone said that Gio Urshela’s bruised shin – suffered when he was hit by a pitch Tuesday – "definitely feels a little bit better today, but [I’m] still not ready to put him in the lineup," He added that he wouldn’t hesitate to ask the third baseman to pinch hit, but wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving him in a game to run the bases.
Torres gets the day off
Slumping Gleyber Torres was given the game off because, Boone said, "with what he’s going through here a little bit last week, [we] felt like today was a good day to have him down and just to hopefully clear his mind." Over his last 10 games, Torres was batting .057 (2-for-35) with no home runs or RBI and 15 strikeouts.
Torres hit 38 home runs in 2019, but has just three this season. Boone believes the issue lies in his swing mechanics and said "the power is there."
Frazier gets the start over Andujar
Boone’s choice to start in leftfield Thursday was Clint Frazier over Miguel Andujar. Frazier went 0-for-3 with a walk, but that choice is going to keep coming up for the manager.
"It’s been a tough call for me every day, frankly," Boone said. "I definitely liked Clint’s [recent] at-bats . . . but [Andujar] has earned opportunities too. It’s probably going to continue to be that way, where it’s a day-by-day thing. I’ll look into the matchups . . . but also, they’re going to continue to probably earn those consistent [starts]."