Aaron Boone New York Yankees
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The New York Yankees flew too close to the sun in Game 2 of the ALDS, resulting in a disappointing loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Danny Small

“It’s not what you want,” is what another New York Yankees manager might say after a gutting Game 2 loss. What’s Aaron Boone saying about the team’s puzzling decision to open with Deivi Garcia and lift him in the second inning for J.A. Happ?

According to Andy Martino of SNY, Boone’s plan was to start Garcia and go to Happ early in the game. Boone pulled the trigger on Happ to start the second inning and it was an unmitigated disaster. The lefty gave up four runs in 2.2 innings and left the Yankees fighting an uphill battle all game long.

If not for Giancarlo Stanton, this game would not have been close.

Understandably, the world is going to crucify Boone for this decision, and to be clear, taking out Garcia after one inning was his call. However, the plan to open with the rookie and have the veteran take over early is not all on Boone. It’s an organizational decision and general manager Brian Cashman likely holds the final say on something like that.

There’s no one person who deserves all the blame. Cashman gets a heaping helping for trying to “out-Rays” the Rays. Dole some out to Boone for pulling Garcia after one inning. Garcia earned a little bit for giving up a solo shot in the first and making Boone jumpy enough to make the move. But most of all, Happ should catch the most heat for this.

If he comes in and goes four innings with a couple of runs, the Yankees have a great chance of pulling out the win in Game 2. Adam Ottavino and Jonathan Loaisiga have to be better out of the pen as well, but this loss should be on Happ more than anyone.

Obviously, it has to be tough for a guy who has spent his entire career as a starter to alter his routine and come in out of the bullpen. But it’s the postseason. All hands on deck. No excuses.

Happ isn’t happy with the Yankees this year. He felt that they were juking his stats to get out of the final year of his contract in 2020. Instead of skipping his starts during the regular season, the better method may have been to test him out of the bullpen.

In 324 career games, Happ has only come out of the bullpen 26 times. It’s a tough position to put him in but at the end of the day, it’s on the player to produce.

In recent years we’ve seen World Series winners do odd things with their pitching staff. The Boston Red Sox have used Chris Sale out of the pen in three of his seven career postseason appearances.

Managers have to make risky decisions, especially in this year’s “no days off” postseason format, and they aren’t all going to pay off.

Hopefully, if the Yankees can bounce back and win the series, this is the last we’ve seen of the Garcia to Happ experiment.

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