Aaron Boone passed his firs playoff test
(Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

What a game the 2018 AL Wild Card game was for the New York Yankees and their fans, but one person shined the most, Aaron Boone.

Start Spreading the News! Wow, what a performance by the New York Yankees beating a tough Oakland A’s ball club by a score of 7-2 in a win or go home night,  moving on to the ALDS to face the Boston Red Sox.

There were a ton of questions heading into the wild-card game, here are a few:

  • Which Luis Severino would show up? (first or second half Severino?)
  • His battery mate Gary Sanchez
  • Miguel Andujar’s defense
  • Bullpen struggles
  • Can Judge regain old form
  • Most important: The decisions by Aaron Boone

Boy did Aaron Boone push all the right buttons in the game Wednesday night, a masterful performance. He got the best of Luis Severino, as he and Gary Sanchez collaborated four strong innings.

Boone tried to squeeze another inning from his starter, but the A’s weren’t buying. They came out swinging, placing two men on with no outs. But, he had Dellin Betances ready and didn’t hesitate to make the move.

Yes, the guy who failed miserably in the 2017 Postseason had his finest moment in the wild card on 2018. During the most crucial part of the game, Dellin came up big, getting two fly balls and a huge strikeout against the MLB Home Run champ Khris Davis to end the inning.

Then, to everybody’s surprise, Betances, who is known for struggling on his second inning of work, came back out for the sixth. It was a gutsy move on part, but Aaron Boone went with his instincts and it proved to be the dagger that killed any possibility of momentum from a dangerous Oakland team known for comebacks. Betances got a three up three down on that inning!

Andujar's Defense

Boone’s next stroke of genius was his timely defensive replacement of Miguel Andújar in the sixth inning. With the Yankees leading just 2-0, the manager by-passed Andujar’s next at-bat or at-bats, and went immediately to his defense, inserting Adeiny Hechavarria.

The move paid instant dividends, as Hechavarria rewarded the fans with a spectacular leaping stab of a line drive off the bat of Marcus Semien to start the inning, and maybe a rally. Just fantastic!

Gary Sanchez coming up big

Let’s not overlook the pressure that has been mounting on Aaron Boone, concerning his catcher. But he has stood by his decision a couple of weeks ago, without hesitation saying that Gary Sanchez was his catcher for the wild card game regardless of the communication problems or defensive struggles.

There was a legitimate speculation that Austin Romine might start the game and be a better option than Sanchez; Romine had a career year on both ends. Yet Boone remained steadfast.

Gary Sanchez backed-up his manager with a very solid performance behind the dish. There were very few shakes, and Luis Severino maintained a consistent rhythm.

Also, as a side note, Sanchez hustled down the line on a ground ball to prevent a double play. Very encouraging! The Yankees could be close to seeing the return of Gary all fans hope to see.

Final Moves

After stamping out the fines, then adding some huge insurance runs to widen their lead to 6-0, the Yankees skipper made his final moves, using David Robertson, Zach Britton, and Aroldis Chapman — all most needed heading into Boston. Especially Chapman, who was dominating; pitching with fire in his blood.

Later on, Boone put the veterans Brett Gardner (LF) and Neil Walker (1B) as defensive replacements late in the game, and Neil Walker made a tough play look easy to end the ballgame.

Giancarlo Stanton got his first taste of the postseason and got a towering home run, Aaron Judge ignited the offense with a blast to boost his confidence. And what about Luke Voit? he is living the dream!

The Yankees are in a good place right now, as they invade Fenway Park. Probably the best they have seen all year. And a big piece of the puzzle was found, the manager. Aaron Boone performed extremely well!