With the regular season winding to an end, every decision Yankees manager Aaron Boone makes is extremely important. Boone has been known to make controversial moves in the past, and his latest one couldâ€™ve cost his team the game.
With the Yankees down 2-1 heading into the ninth inning, all they needed was to survive and give their offense one more opportunity to score. Instead, Boone elected to utilize Domingo German in the eighth inning and carry him over into the ninth, and after walking two batters, he called upon Albert Abreu over Aroldis Chapman to get the job done.
Chapman tossed 22 pitches on Thursday evening, so the Yankee skipper wanted to save him for later on in the series. However, Abreu allowed Wander Franco to single to right field, driving in two runs and giving the Tampa Bay Rays a three-run cushion in the bottom of the ninth.
The Yankees leaning on German in just his first appearance of the year was a bit surprising, as the choice ended up backfiring in an important situation.
â€œLike Iâ€™ve been saying every day when asked about him, heâ€™s going to be in some difficult situations. We have to lean on everyone down there,â€ Boone said of German after the game. â€œI thought he came in and threw the ball well.
â€œObviously, the [walks] there hurt him to knock him out of the game. But I thought overall he threw the ball pretty well.â€
If the Yankees were able to get out of the top of the ninth inning, they likely wouldâ€™ve won the game, considering they posted two runs, falling 3-4 to the Rays. The final score wouldâ€™ve been 3-2, including a walk-off single from Brett Gardner, driving in Joey Gallo and Tyler Wade.
The Yankees losing gives the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays an opportunity to climb back into the Wild Card race. With the Bombers hosting a one-game advantage for the first place spot, Boston is just behind them. The Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays are one game behind Boston. The Yankees must walk away with a victory on Saturday, which would be enough to help secure one of the two Wild Card spots given a Seattle or Toronto defeat.