Aaron Boone explains why Yankees didn't intentionally walk Vladimir Guerrero Jr. before walk-off

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After Vladimir Guerrero Jr. laced a walk-off single off Clarke Schmidt in the bottom of the 10th inning to delay a potential Yankees’ clinching party, many immediately criticized Aaron Boone’s decision to not intentionally walk Guerrero with first base open and two outs in the inning.

With Cavan Biggio as the automatic runner on second base, Guerrero ripped Schmidt’s first pitch into left to keep New York’s magic number at two, narrowly missing a chance to clinch the AL East title in the series opener. But Boone wouldn’t have felt particularly comfortable with the on-deck hitter stepping in against Schmidt, either.

“Al Kirk is on deck,” Boone said, via NJ.com. “You don’t really like either of those matchups. It’s pick your poison.”

Boone’s assessment isn’t too far off. Guerrero, a 30-homer hitter, obviously has the power edge, but Kirk, a 2022 All-Star, has similar offensive numbers otherwise, batting .292 compared to Guerrero’s .276, and his .805 OPS isn’t far off Guerrero’s mark of .819. Still, Guerrero has made a habit of hurting the Yanks since arriving in the majors, and Monday’s walk-off was his second hit of the night.

Boone said there was a discussion, even to walk Bo Bichette in front of Guerrero, but after Schmidt got Bichette to fly out, Boone decided to go after Guerrero.

“We talked a little bit about, once we got Springer, put [Bichette] on to try to set up some kind of ground ball,” Boone said. “Once we got that, you’ve obviously got to pitch carefully, but with Kirk behind him, it’s pick your poison.”

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