Towards the audience of Yankee Stadium, the ballpark he christened with a championship in 2009, Joe Girardi folded his Popeye forearms over the dugout rails and batted with a familiar face around some subjects.
Coronavirus: “This delta version doesn’t care whether you’ve been vaccinated or not,” said Philips manager.
Tokyo Olympics: “I don’t know how they’re going to pull this off.”
Aaron Boone’s Yankees: “I see a postseason team.”
A postseason team? before this Boone wins Wednesday night’s Wild matchup With his predecessor in 10 innings, 6–5, on a single off Ryan Lamare’s right field wall, Girardi was closer to first place in the AL East (seven) than Boone in the NL East (three games behind). Wild-card standings (four). But the man who was fired after leading the Yankees in Game 7 of the 2017 ALCS didn’t care.
“This is a team that has been in the last four years post season, and before that it was a long, long run,” he said. “I won’t believe it until they make it.”
I won’t either.
Maybe it’s a product of seeing the Yankees make nearly annual playoff runs since the mid-1990s, even before Girardi showed up in 1996 as an unpopular replacement for catcher Mike Stanley. Or maybe it’s simply a product of surveying the race without motivation for a second wild card to be claimed after the first one, the Boston/Tampa Bay Divisional loser.
The Yankees won’t be able to catch the Red Sox or the Rays, although they may give them something to think about in their next seven games at Fenway Park and Tropicana Field. But there’s no juggernaut separating the Yankees from a fourth straight playoff appearance under Boone. Oakland, Seattle and Toronto are all catchable and beatable. Shame on the Yanks if they can’t navigate that dangerous path to the tournament.
“Aaron has done a great job; “Look at his recovery over the years that he’s had here,” Girardi said. “So he had to go through a lot this year, like everyone else. You see how many people they have been injured and how many COVID cases they have, and yet they are right in the mix.
“I still don’t think they’ve made their offensive progress. You warm up some guys in that lineup, they’ll score a lot of runs. And they have some pitchers who are hopefully coming back for them that last one.” Or two months will make a difference. But there’s still a ton of talent out there.”
If not a ton, that’s enough to overcome Gene Segura’s opening-pitch homer from Asher Wojciechowski, and a 5-2 lead in the eighth (thanks to a lousy bullpen) and Girardi’s team to match the Phillips. Complete a two-game sweep of . ‘ sweep of the Yanks last month.
No, a third place finish in the AL East and second in the wild-card chase shouldn’t be too much to ask. The Yankees would add some returning firepower to the injured list, and Brian Cashman would likely make a trade-time limit move or two. Meanwhile, Greg Allen and Estevan Floriel communicate some much-needed life to the Walking Dead team that apparently forgot baseball isn’t golf—running isn’t allowed, it’s encouraged.
And yet when a team is far behind its hated opponent in mid-July, October is not a popular topic. Brett Gardner really brought it up on his Wednesday when he said the team needed more from Brett Gardner and Gleber Torres and others “for us to come in the postseason and make some noise…”
But when asked if and how he talks to his team about October, Boone sounded like ol’ Jim Mora while assessing his playoff chances.Google it) He said, ‘I don’t talk about it at all.
“We have to take great care of the here and now. And we understand that very well as a team, and if we do that, it will take care of itself from there. … So that’s what I’m about to do.” I never talk
Never talking about it, of course, doesn’t take it away. The organizational mission statement is famous for what it is, and the Yankees have not been able to fulfill that purpose since Girardi was leading them a dozen years ago. The Phillies’ manager was reminded that a Yankee team playing a small handful of more than .500 represents a legitimate New York crisis.
“Always,” he said. “It was the second day for Joe Toure in 1998, and we ended up winning 114 games. A Hall of Fame manager who would win four titles and it was like, well, that’s just the way it is.”
This should not happen for Girdhari’s successor. Boone is 3-for-3 in the making postseason, and he has no good excuse for not going 4-for-4.