The Yankees let the Rays back into this ALDS last night as pitching decisions by Aaron Boone and the Yankee analytic team made no sense at the time and even less sense after the Rays beat the Yankees in Game 2 by a score of 7 to 5 as this series is now tied at one game a piece.
Starting Devii Garcia was a questionable move but inserting Jay Happ after only 1 inning from Garcia made even less sense. Pitchers are creatures of habit and Happ looked like a fish out of water in this role serving up 2 homers to get the Rays offense going.
Baseball is not a sport that should not be overthought. Once the Yankees took Game 1 Masahiro Tanaka who will start tonight should have been the Game 2 starter trying to put a stranglehold on this series.
But no the Yankees decided they wanted to outsmart the Rays by having an opener followed by a southpaw in Happ that would force the Rays to use their platoon system emptying their bench. But Kevin Cash the Rays manager was not born yesterday and he refused to take the bait.
Meanwhile, Tyler Glasnow got the chance to go up against a bunch of Yankee middle relievers and he took full advantage of that as the combination of his arm and some really underrated Rays relief pitchers struck out 18 Yankee hitters.
Long term in this series you really wonder after Tanaka takes the hill tonight who do the Yankees turn to in Game 4 which could be either a close out or elimination game. Even if the Yankees have decided to go with Cole on short rest in a potential Game 5 Game 4 might need to be a bullpen game and quite frankly, the better bullpen is this series is the Rays not the Yankees.
Aaron Boone had made some questionable decisions in his post-season Yankee tenure but this one may have been the worst one because it not only affected Game 2 but could have an impact on subsequent games as well.
I knew coming into this series the Rays had a managerial edge with Kevin Cash in that he uses analytics but uses them in a way where hunches live equally with the nerdy analytical protocol. And Aaron Boone displayed that difference in the 2 managers who are in this series. For Yankee fans I hope this difference can be overcome because their talented roster wins DESPITE their manager.
Years ago, George Steinbrenner called Dave Winfield Mr. May which we know was misguided but if Boone continues to make blatant errors like this in the post-season we may have to start calling him “May Manager.”