'We’ve got to be better': Yankees' Aaron Boone calls out team's baserunning in loss to Red Sox (2024)

Red Sox

"We have to play clean baseball, especially when things are hard to come by."

'We’ve got to be better': Yankees' Aaron Boone calls out team's baserunning in loss to Red Sox (1)

By Conor Roche

The Red Sox’ 5-3 win over the Yankees on Friday might have been their best of the season. On the flip side, it might have been the worst loss of the year for the Yankees.

New York was one strike away from taking Game 1 of the three-game series. But Masataka Yoshida took Yankees closer Clay Holmes deep for a two-run home run to tie the game. Ceddanne Rafaela hit a two-run homer of his own in the 10th before Kenley Jansen retired three Yankees hitters in a row to seal the win.

But several innings prior to blowing the lead, the Yankees made a major mistake along the basepaths. Shortstop Anthony Volpe didn’t fully hustle from third to home on a double play in the third inning. As Romy Gonzalez tagged first on a groundball before throwing over to second to get DJ LeMahieu out, Volpe casually trotted to home plate. Because LeMahieu wasn’t a force out after the tag at first, Volpe would have counted as a run if he scored before the tag at second, which would have given the Yankees a 1-0 lead at the time.

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Yankees manager Aaron Boone called out his team’s fundamentals on the basepaths following the loss.

“We’ve got to play better than that, no question,” Boone told reporters. “We certainly understand that and invest a lot in that. We have to play clean baseball, especially when things are hard to come by. We’ve got to be better, period.”

Volpe took ownership of the mistake, saying he’s “just got to hustle all the way, just got to be better.” But he gave a bit of an unusual explanation for the miscue.

“I think there was confusion on fair or foul,” Volpe said.

Volpe wasn’t the only one who Boone criticized though on that play. He also pointed some blame at LeMahieu, telling reporters that the third baseman creating a rundown would have been the “ideal thing.” Instead, LeMahieu seemed to slow down after Rafaela got the throw form Gonzalez at second.

That wasn’t LeMahieu’s only lack of intensity on the basepaths on Friday. In the prior at-bat, he barely beat out a throw to first base after he hit a grounder up the middle on a fielder’s choice. Enmanuel Valdez didn’t cleanly field the ball and Rafaela had to hesitate before throwing to first after tagging second. Still, LeMahieu was only safe at first by a step as he casually jogged out of the box.

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Boone actually came to LeMahieu’s defense when asked about his effort on that play.

“How frustrating is what? He was hustling,” Boone said.

Regardless of how Boone feels about that specific play, there seems to be a sign of frustration over how things have gone with the Yankees as of late. New York has lost 14 of its last 18 games and only sits 4.5 games ahead of Boston in the wild-card standings, a margin that would have seemed impossible just a couple of weeks ago.

Yankees starting pitcher Nestor Cortes, who allowed just one run on three hits, one walk, and eight strikeouts in six innings on Friday, is among the group of players who are disappointed in their team’s recent play.

“It’s always a bad feeling, a bad taste in your mouth, when you’re up 3-1 and you have one of the best closers in the game,” Cortes said. “I feel like we’ve been going through a lot right now. We’ve just got to put our heads down and keep going.”

Holmes is also a part of that group.

“It’s been tough, the last few weeks. We’re not playing the way that we know we’re capable,” Holmes said. “There’s definitely been some challenges. There’s no denying that. Nobody is playing to the level that they think they can, and I think we all want to be the guy that our teammates can depend on.”

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Volpe expressed similar thoughts.

“Brutal,” Volpe told reporters of the Yankees’ recent skid. “We play to win, and we expect to win.”

Meanwhile, Boone is asking his players to keep grinding as he hopes this just a blip for the 54-36 Yankees.

“We got to dig down and [have] a quick turnaround (Saturday) to get ready to play and find out what we’re made of a little bit,” Boone said. “You’re going to be tested all of the time with tough spots in the season, which clearly we are right now. Extremely tough losses when you’re going through it. This falls in that category.

“We’ve got to turn the page quick and come out to finish off a ballgame.”

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'We’ve got to be better': Yankees' Aaron Boone calls out team's baserunning in loss to Red Sox (2)

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'We’ve got to be better': Yankees' Aaron Boone calls out team's baserunning in loss to Red Sox (2024)
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