When Gerrit Cole struck out the side in the eighth inning Wednesday night, most Yankees fans were probably ready to see their ace go for the complete game – as was Evan Roberts.
So, when Yankees manager Aaron Boone joined Carton & Roberts for his weekly segment on Friday, Craig asked Boone his thoughts…and Boone-Dawg wanted to get Evan’s take first.
“I wanted to see him pitch the ninth, but I won’t scream and yell about it because I get it’s 106 pitches and that’s the world we live in,” Evan said, “but I think most fans want to see dominant pitchers keep going, and I’m confident he could’ve gotten the last three outs.”
So, too, was the Yankees’ skipper.
“I think he could’ve done it too,” Boone admitted, “but I have to reiterate not to get caught up in the pitches. It’s 106 pitches, but it was eight innings in a 1-0 game where there was so much on the line from Jump Street.”
After the seventh inning, Boone’s plan was to get someone ready if the eighth inning got long. It didn’t, as Cole fanned the side, but that dominance was something the skipper knew was the end of the line.
“As dominant as he was, I knew he emptied the tank, and that was it without even talking to him,” Boone said.
So that led to a conversation about something else Evan mentioned in his first answer: using Aroldis Chapman to close it out means that likely, after pitching two days in a row, Chapman is out for tonight’s series finale.
Three days in a row is something the Yankees almost always avoid with their relievers, and Boone admitted he doesn’t like to do four out of five days – which is what Chapman did, albeit with Monday’s off day in the middle – but in this case, the skipper was confident in his closer.
“Typically, throughout the year, last night is maybe a night where I would stay away from Aroldis, because I don’t know I’ve even done four out of five much,” Boone said. “But we’ve met with Aroldis, and we take his temperature every day to see where he’s at, and I felt good about him being available in the ninth inning. And one of the great things this year is we’ve been able to protect him a lot, and he’s been more pitch efficient, so that’s taking a lot less out of him.”
Did the fact it was a chance to win a series against the Rays help?
“Any division game takes on a little bit more meaning, obviously, but I think that it was more determined before the game that we felt good about using him,” Boone said. “Then when you have a game like that, a pitchers’ duel where your ace goes eight innings, you feel good about it.”
So, then, could Chapman be available Thursday night, or is it two and out?