Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Yankees Manager Aaron Boone On Wild Card Game

Yankees Manager Aaron Boone will have his first postseason game in the role on Wednesday night when the Yankees host the Oakland A's in the American League Wild Card Game.

On Tuesday afternoon, Boone still had one thing left to announce before the one-game playoff.

"Luis Severino will start tomorrow for us," Boone said, referring to one of the Yankees aces, who went 19-8 with a 3.39 ERA.

Boone went with Severino instead of J.A. Happ, who was phenomenal since coming to the Yankees in late July, and Masahiro Tanaka.

"Really excited to give him the ball tomorrow. I feel like after some bumps in the road certainly the second half of the season, he's turned a corner and really started to throw the ball better. I think he's ready for this. He'll be pitching on plenty of rest, and hopefully he can get us off to a good start tomorrow."

Here is the rest of what Boone had to say in his press conference:

Q. When did you actually decide, and what was the final thing that pushed that decision over the edge with the people that were in the room?
AARON BOONE: Yeah, so we met Saturday night as a staff, and Cash came up to Boston, and we talked through it. A lot of guys had input on the decision and had reasons why one way or the other. I just kind of took all that information and slept on it, and felt like at some point Sunday is when I decided for sure that I wanted to go with Sevy in this game, and that's where we're at with it.

Q. How do you make a choice? Was it based on the previous result, the playoff, based on what you've done this year? And at the same time, I would like to know from you, what is the difference being in playoffs as the New York Yankees manager and as a player?
AARON BOONE: First of all, everything goes into the decision. I mean, performance, experience, stuff, opponent. All those things, all of it, goes into it. People's input. But I just felt really comfortable going with Sevy and feel like he's going to get us off on a good note tomorrow. I can't wait to see him go do his thing.

As far as the difference, I guess I have to let you know in retrospect. You'll have to ask me that down the road, hopefully in a little while, hopefully a good while down the road. You know, this is what you play for, an opportunity to chase the ultimate prize, and we have that opportunity.
That's what you play for as a player. That's what I'm in it for in this seat. We have a special group in there that I think is capable of being a really special club, and now we get to go find out and chase that down.
So I'm sure there's a lot of similarities from the excitement, the butterflies, just the ultimate in competition when you're going up against other great teams that are playing for a lot. It's something that is a privilege, and it's something that none of us take lightly.
Q. Did last year's one-game playoff with Sevy weigh into the decision at all? I'm sure Sevy wants to get back on the mound and prove that was just a blip.
AARON BOONE: I don't know, I mean, it's -- I know he struggled, obviously, in that game, but I also look at it as one game, and again, what he was able to do going forward in the playoffs, and I just think he's uniquely positioned as a young man in this game that has experienced a lot, and I think he's very equipped to handle all that goes with this game.

I've talked about him a lot, and he's dealt with massive success. He's dealt with struggles. He's dealt with going to the bullpen. He's dealt with things this year as far as having the kind of first half he did and then going through a few-week stretch there where he struggled on the mound.
So I think he's equipped in so many ways to handle this, and perhaps most importantly, he's equipped with amazing stuff and the ability to dominate big league hitters because he's such a talented pitcher. Again, I can't wait to see him go do it.
Q. Which of the other starters are going to be on the roster tomorrow? How many pitchers are you taking total? And will you carry a third catcher?
AARON BOONE: We are carrying J.A. Happ, Masahiro Tanaka and Lance Lynn. We'll carry 10 pitchers, and we are -- Higgy will be a third catcher on our roster, yes.

Q. Is Sanchez going to be your catcher tomorrow? And if he is, there has been some disconnection some time during the season with Severino and Gary. How confident are you they'll be able to work out those differences?
AARON BOONE: He will be my catcher, and I am very confident. Those two are very close, so sometimes some of the things they get into that have been seen, I guess, as just two passionate guys, two guys that are like brothers in a lot of ways, and I am confident that they are in a good place, will be on the same page, and I think they give us a great chance to win tomorrow night.

Q. Do you have a pitching setup for Boston in the case that you win?
AARON BOONE: No, because you never know what transpires tomorrow. I mean, we've got to go win, and hopefully we'll be able to do that, and then when the dust settles after tomorrow night, who knows what happens or how that happens. Then you go from there.

But first things first; Boston doesn't happen if we don't go out and take care of business tomorrow night. With the starting pitchers that we do have on the roster obviously tomorrow, it's truly an all hands on deck to try and win a game.
Q. That Oakland is considering going with an all-bullpen game, as it has in September. How much does it show the way the game has evolved in such a short time?
AARON BOONE: Yeah, that's very true. We've seen really over the last five or ten years just how big a factor the bullpen has been in a lot of teams' run to a world championship. And then I would say even over the last couple of years and certainly this year with what we've seen from Tampa and other clubs, it's even gone to another level with how teams are using and how bullpens continue to evolve.

We certainly are prepared for that kind of scenario tomorrow, and we know the A's have a ton of really good arms over there that present a lot of challenges for us, and we'll just be prepared as best we can to handle that and to succeed.
Q. How does it change your lineup?
AARON BOONE: Not a lot. Not a lot. Maybe a little bit with the order, just with our righties and lefties and things like that, but I wouldn't say it changes our lineup that much.

Q. The fact that you're taking three starters in your bullpen, can you go through your thinking, and does that say anything tactically about how you're thinking about using Severino tomorrow?
AARON BOONE: Not necessarily. I just feel like it covers us in a lot of different scenarios. Only going with 10 pitchers, obviously, in that scenario we have guys that are capable of giving us significant length, if we needed to, if we got into an extra-inning situation. Lance Lynn we probably view more in a traditional part-of-the-pen role.

As far as with Sevy, hopefully he pitches deep into this game, and if he's pitching well, he'll have that kind of opportunity. But obviously with our bullpen and what we'll have available at our disposal, we'll also be very aggressive in making moves or trying to set up the best matchups, depending on the game.
Q. Happ has been your most consistent and best pitcher the last couple months. On back-to-back games in Oakland he pitched pretty well; Severino did not. Is this just a case of you betting on Severino's upside?
AARON BOONE: Well, first of all, the decision, as I've kind of talked about over the last week, we felt like was from a position of strength, and I felt very, very good that it was a good decision in front of us. And J.A. Happ is a very good decision, had we gone that way. Same with Masa, same with CC for that matter. But I guess in a way I'm going with what I believe Sevy turning the corner, and what I believe is when he's pitching his best, he'll be the best pitcher on the field tomorrow, and I feel like he's ready for this opportunity, and I think he's very much looking forward to taking the ball.

Q. Knowing that this is just one game but the team's goal here is obviously to win the World Series, is Happ's track record in Boston allowing him to possibly pitch games 1 and 5, is that a factor in this at all?
AARON BOONE: Again, I would -- it's about tomorrow for us. You know, the fact that J.A. is on the roster for tomorrow's game, putting him in play, this is all hands on deck for tomorrow, and we'll sort out, if we're fortunate enough to get to the next round, in Boston when we get there.

And again, I feel like with all of our guys, I think we're more than capable of -- when we're playing well or at our best, we can match up and beat anyone. We'll cross that bridge on Thursday morning hopefully when we're still standing.
Q. Quick update on injuries: Hicks, Didi and Torres?
AARON BOONE: All good.

Q. Everybody ready to go?
AARON BOONE: Everyone ready to go, yep.

Q. Three catchers is kind of rare; would you defense with Romine or use him to pinch-hit; is that into your thinking?
AARON BOONE: Well, we feel like obviously in a one-game situation, not the need for as many pitchers. Tyler Wade will be on our roster, as well, so I'd probably be pretty aggressive with a pinch-run situation at any point, which maybe brings a second catcher into play, which brings into if you wanted to hit for -- if you needed a hit for a catcher late in the game, you're covered there.

That's where I'd play with it.
Q. You've had your home run moment in Yankee history. Today is the anniversary of Bucky Dent's home run moment. Can you talk a little bit about now in your position moving forward being part of this history and what you hope to achieve?
AARON BOONE: It's certainly been one of the great privileges of my life to get to work for this organization now, first as a player and now to be able to manage this team and understanding the great history that comes with it. It's not something I take lightly, and you understand what it means to put on the pinstripes and to walk out on that field with our fans. There's very few things you get to experience in life that will rival those kind of moments wearing this uniform.

Hopefully some guys will have some moments ahead of them as this month unfolds.
Q. With what you said about all hands on deck and just looking at this 100-win season and the Major League home run record, what kind of added pressure does that put on this game for you guys to live up to what was a great season?
AARON BOONE: Well, again, when you put this uniform on, that goes with the territory. And again, I view that pressure as a privilege, and we'll all embrace that and look to apply that to our opponent. Yeah, we've had a great season to this point, but that's now behind us, and the real season starts now. Our guys will be ready, and I look forward to watching them go out and do their thing tomorrow night.

Q. What about for you personally, the challenge of a one-game, winner-moves-on, loser-goes-home scenario with so many variables and so much at stake, we could be looking at a long game, how are you approaching that aspect?
AARON BOONE: Just prepare as best we can. We just had our advanced meeting with our scouts, coaching staff. Support staff has been poring into all the things that hopefully can give us that little bit of a competitive advantage going into tomorrow night's game, and we'll be prepared and try to have a game plan as best we can, and then we go out and play. Once that bell rings, all the preparation is there for the players to go out, the coaching staff, go play. And we'll do that to the best of our ability.

Q. I know that every pitcher is a creature of habit. It will be eight days between starts for Severino. Can you give some specifics about what he's done in the meantime? Has he had two bullpen sessions? When were they? Anybody face him, any simulated game that we didn't know about?
AARON BOONE: No simulated game, but we like the fact that he's pitched a couple times on the seventh day this past month. We think that's been beneficial to him, so now he'll be going on the eighth day. I believe he threw his side, his most recent side, on Sunday, so we feel like -- and I felt this all along. Even when he hit a little bump in the road there, I felt like physically he's been sound all year, and I've talked to him a lot about that, and I think he's felt really strong physically and just needed to work through some struggles that he went through, and I feel like he has turned the corner on that. But I feel like the extra couple of days is something that is beneficial, and hopefully it'll shine through tomorrow.

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