“Ten runs. I think it was so difficult on them, and we were able to break through in a couple of big spots.” -AARON BOONE

AL DIVISION SERIES:

YANKEES 10, TWINS 4

October 5, 2019

Aaron Boone

New York, New York – postgame 1

Yankees – 10, Twins – 4

Q. Aaron, just walk us through some of the bullpen decisions, specifically going to Britton in the seventh, and then was Happ, was that a by-product to D.J.’s double?
AARON BOONE: Yeah. We were prepared to be aggressive there, and we were prepared to try to split up the seventh, eighth, and ninth with Britton and Chappy in that spot, but once we got the lead leverage, we decided to go with J.A. there for an inning. It was good to see him get in the game like that where, obviously, a different role for him, and I thought threw the ball really well.

Q. And not sticking with Green longer? That was a matchup thing or —
AARON BOONE: A little bit in that we felt like we could split it up the seventh, eighth, and ninth and kind of wanted Greeny’s potential length for tomorrow, as well. So, yeah, a couple factors leaking into that.

Q. Obviously, you’ve watched Torres hit a lot over the last two years, but I wonder if there’s a level of appreciation, bases loaded, down 0-2, to a guy who’s pretty tough on right handers, in that situation for what kind of at-bat he had there.
AARON BOONE: It was — I mean, you nailed it. A big time at-bat against a guy that was really tough on righties. To work himself back into that count, I think the 3-2 pitch that he kind of three-quarter swing spoiled to keep surviving and then finally got a pitch he could do something with and smoked it. It was a huge at-bat, obviously, in that game. We’re kind of looking for that kind of hit. We created some pretty good traffic to that point, and that hit, I think, really, really got us rolling from there.

But it was a big time at-bat and a tough spot against a tough matchup.

Q. Take us through the thought process a little of the decision to leave Paxton in for Polanco. I’m sure there were pros and cons there and why you came out the way you did to leave him in.
AARON BOONE: We just — I felt good about him going through Polanco, and Polanco had a great night, but we’ll keep him on that side preferably. He had a great night and a great at-bat against him, but I felt like Pax was pretty strong to that point, and had Otta, obviously, ready for Cruz. But I felt good about the matchup there.

Q. When you started the inning, might you have used Ottavino for that batter had Paxton looked differently? I assume you watched him closely. You had Ottavino up at the beginning of the inning —
AARON BOONE: Yeah, he was just getting ready. It was more for Cruz.

Q. LeMahieu drops the pop-up. You probably didn’t expect to see that. What’s going through your mind when you see that?
AARON BOONE: Weird things can happen sometimes in the playoffs. You’ve got kind of a windy night, cold, one of those where maybe he thought Gleyber was going to come over, so I don’t think he was real committed at it. Then it skips off, and then we end up turning the huge double play, obviously, to get out of that inning.

Then D.J. goes and says enough and finishes off an impressive night.

Q. You’ve talked about wanting to be aggressive with the bullpen, but I think at one point there you had two of your high leverage guys get two outs, face five batters. You’ve still got a bunch of outs to cover. Did going through some of this last year make you more comfortable to sort of get in that position? Because it could also go the other way there if you don’t expend a lead where you have to cover some innings with some of your best guys.


AARON BOONE: I just think there were some spots that I felt good about certain guys in, and the other good thing about tonight is I feel like all of our guys are back in play for tomorrow, and we’re not pushing them necessarily.

So I just felt like there were certain times in the game that matchups we wanted to try to slam the door, and fortunately, the offense was able to add on to allow us to change things up a little bit and keep Britt to an inning. So it just kind of unfolded that way for us.

Q. (No microphone)?
AARON BOONE: Yeah, it obviously felt like that was a big point of the game, wanted Otta for Cruz. Cruz worked a really good at-bat on him. I thought Otto threw the ball well. If he gets out of that inning, then Kahnle has a clean one there for the sixth with everyone behind him. They made it tough and had some good at-bats, so we had to get Greeny in the mix obviously, but still felt like we were covered.

Q. Even before Torres’ hit, you had guys lay off some pretty tough breaking stuff. Is that kind of in the scouting report against them? And Torres, is that emblematic of his slow heartbeat when you guys talk about him up in that spot?
AARON BOONE: That’s controlling the strike zone, and that’s, I think, what allowed us to win the game tonight. We won a lot of 3-2 counts tonight. I thought the guys by and large, up and down the lineup, really made it tough on their pitchers because they stayed in the strike zone. When you do that, you’re able to have a night like tonight where you throw up — we got ten, right? Ten runs. I think it was so difficult on them, and we were able to break through in a couple of big spots.

Q. Just how concerning, if at all, was Stanton’s defense in left field today?
AARON BOONE: Not at all. I mean, the ball he dove for, I thought he moved really well on it, laid out, didn’t quite get it. Yeah, I’m not concerned at all.

Q. Does Aaron sometimes forget he’s 6’7″ out there in right field with the defense he was playing out there? He made some aggressive plays and a big one, too, with the line drive in the corner there.
AARON BOONE: Yeah, huge. He’s so good out there. Obviously, two great plays where he lays out for balls. You see the other things he does so well just fundamentally sound, just getting behind balls to get himself into position to make throws. And then on the offensive side, I felt every at-bat he had tonight he was all over everything. Just what might get lost in that ten-run game is the two big defensive plays that he made out in right.

Q. Are you ever going to get over him hitting the deck like that, Aaron? I know you feel great about the play, but afterwards is there a little bit of a worry to it?
AARON BOONE: I stepped up on the top step, but I felt like I saw it pretty well and kept it on the chest. I felt like we were okay with that one.

Q. How was J.A. Happ coming out of the bullpen, and could we see him start this series?
AARON BOONE: Yeah, I thought he was really good. I thought he threw the ball well. Lost Kepler, where Kepler worked a tough at-bat off him, but I thought he threw the ball great. It was good to get him out there because I really think J.A. Happ is going to play a big role for us if we’re going to go deep in this playoffs, and it could be in so many different roles. It could be in a high leverage situation for short. It could be a matchup situation. It could be starting a game. It could be in a lot of different roles, and the fact that he was ready for that tonight and came in and picked us up was big.

Q. We always talk about Gleyber’s approach at the plate, but what is it about his personality and his mental game that allows him at 22 to thrive in these kinds of situations?
AARON BOONE: He’s smart, and he’s confident, and that’s a really good combination when you’re talented. But I think those are the two biggest things. He’s shown an ability to make adjustments, to understand what teams and pitchers are doing to him, and he has a lot of confidence in his ability and came up big tonight again.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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