Boone’s blunder forces Yankees into another loss vs. Mariners

Aaron Boone, the manager of the New York Yankees.

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Yankees manager Aaron Boone made a questionable decision at a critical juncture that ultimately resulted in his team’s 6-3 loss to the Mariners on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. He chose Clayton Andrews for his season debut just one day after receiving a questionable call-up when New York needed an experienced and reliable arm. His decision proved fatal and the skipper also admitted the mistake after the defeat.

In the seventh, the Yankees trailed the Mariners by four runs. However, a glimmer of hope emerged when Gleyber Torres launched a two-run homer into the seats, suddenly making it a one-run game. At this critical juncture, Boone went for 5-foot-6 left-hander Andrews. 

A closer look at Andrews’ numbers paints a grim picture: his performances this season in Scranton, during spring training with the Yankees, and last year when he allowed 11 runs over 3.1 innings in four games with the Brewers, have been far from inspiring.

Despite his past struggles, this moment presented an opportunity for Andrews to prove himself and maintain the one-run deficit. It seemed likely that this would be his sole appearance before being optioned back to Triple-A, especially with reliever Tommy Kahnle set to return from the injured list on Wednesday.

Yankees Clayton Andrews is pitching to the Mariners in the seventh on May 21, 2024, at Yankee Stadium.

In a lefty vs. lefty matchup, Andrews’ first pitch as a Yankee – a thigh-high fastball just off the inside corner – was crushed by the Mariners’ Luke Raley for a 357-foot homer to right field. Boone’s decision to insert Andrews into the game at such a crucial moment backfired, effectively squandering the Yankees’ hard-fought momentum and potentially costing them a chance to complete the comeback.

Andrews’ brief outing was marked by further struggles, as he hit the next batter, Cal Raleigh, before striking out Mitch Haniger and being replaced by right-hander Nick Burdi. The Mariners’ offense continued to apply pressure, with No. 9 hitter Dylan Moore launching his second homer of the game, a solo shot off Yankees left-hander Caleb Ferguson in the ninth inning, pushing Seattle’s lead back to three runs.

The Yankees attempted a late rally in the bottom of the ninth, with two outs and runners on first and second after a Jose Trevino single and a Gleyber Torres walk. However, Mariners closer Andres Munoz extinguished any remaining hope by striking out Oswaldo Cabrera to end the game, stranding the tying run at the plate.

Seattle’s offense had struck early, taking a 2-0 lead in the third inning courtesy of a two-run homer by Moore off Yankees starter Clarke Schmidt. They extended their advantage to 4-0 in the seventh, scoring two more runs off reliever Dennis Santana via a leadoff homer by Ty France and an RBI single by Moore, who enjoyed a three-hit, four-RBI night.

Mariners starter Bryan Woo (2-0) was dominant, completely shutting down the Yankees over six innings, allowing just two hits while striking out seven and walking none. Schmidt (5-2), despite limiting the Mariners to two runs, lasted only five innings due to an elevated pitch count of 100. He finished with six strikeouts and two walks.

Aaron Boone admits he made the wrong pitching decision

Aaron Boone, the manager of the New York Yankees.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone admitted that he made a mistake in his decision to use Clayton Andrews over fellow left-handed reliever Caleb Ferguson to begin the eighth inning of Tuesday night’s game, with the Yankees trailing by a single run. Boone’s regret stemmed from choosing the untested Andrews over the more experienced Ferguson in a critical situation.

Boone explained that he “liked the lane” of having Andrews face two left-handed hitters, but admitted that “in hindsight, I probably should have” gone with Ferguson in that high-leverage situation.

Andrews had just been called up from Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Monday to replace reliever Ian Hamilton, who was placed on the 7-day COVID injured list. Following Tuesday’s game, Andrews was optioned back to the minors to make room for Tommy Kahnle, who is set to be activated on Wednesday after missing the first 50 games of the season due to shoulder issues.

The Mariners, known for their outstanding pitching and less potent lineup, showcased their power by hitting four home runs on Tuesday. Reliever Dennis Santana had surrendered two runs in the seventh, including a solo shot to Ty France.

Despite the setback, the Yankees managed to bring the tying runs to the plate in both the eighth inning, with Juan Soto and Aaron Judge, and again in the ninth before ultimately falling short.

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