Yankees’ Aaron Boone can’t even acknowledge the elephant in the room

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at New York Yankees
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In a game where Yankees‘ starting pitcher Nestor Cortes gave his team six innings of one-run ball, they couldn’t get over the hump to secure a much-needed win following a series sweet to a bad Cinnatti Reds team.

Multiple little-league errors and a blatant lack of hustle plagued the Yankees on Friday night. Manager Aaron Boone is known to be a player’s coach, but the situation is getting out of hand, where players aren’t getting punished for mental mistakes and a pure lack of hustle.

The Yankees Can’t Be Losing Little League Games

This shouldn’t be something a professional manager needs to remedy — going as far as to suggest DJ LeMahieu was hustling despite video footage obviously showing a half-effort that nearly led to a double-play. It took DJ until the final moments to put it into high gear, but he should have been running full speed out of the batter’s box.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
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Not to mention Anthony Volpe getting confused on a ground ball that would’ve scored a run. Instead, he stopped running halfway down the third base line, and the inning came to an end before he could cross home plate. That was the difference between winning and losing after Clay Holmes blew a two-run lead in the 9th inning.

“We got to play better than that. No question,” he said. “We certainly understand that and invest a lot in that. We have to play clean baseball, especially when it’s hard and things are hard to come by. We got to be better, period.”

This is a classic Boone response — absolve everyone of their mishaps and suggest, “We got to play better than that.” Boone needs to lay out consequences for mistakes that lead to losses and not hand out generic responses we’ve heard continuously over the past five years.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at New York Yankees
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

“We got to dig down and (have) a quick turnaround (Saturday) to get ready to play and find out what we’re made of a little bit,” Boone said. “You’re going to be tested all of the time with tough spots in the season, which clearly we are right now. Extremely tough losses when you’re going through it. This falls in that category. We’ve got to turn the page quick and come out to finish off a ballgame.”

Responses we’ve heard a million times before. The Yankees need a spark, not a cheerleader. Being beaten down by bad teams and losing leads in critical moments is the sign of an unmotivated and defeated team. This is not the sign of a World Series-caliber operation. In the end, the Yankees need fresh blood at the trade deadline and they need leadership in times of turmoil.

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