Aaron Judge is not a fan of the neutral-site “bubble” for the later rounds of the MLB Postseason, saying in a Zoom on Thursday that it “doesn’t really reward a team for going out and winning.”
That may be true, as baseball is really the one sport where environment is just as conducive to roster construction as anything, but Judge’s skipper, however, has more of mixed emotions, as Aaron Boone told Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts in his weekly spot on WFAN’s Joe & Evan Show on Thursday.
“I’ve kind of been resigned to it for a while, and hopefully we’re in that situation,” Boone said. “In a way, you look forward to it, because it will be something different and maybe kind of cool. It will be weird being in the bubble, and I’m not looking forward to saying goodbye to my family for a long time, but if we’re in that position to be one of those teams at the neutral site, I think it will be pretty exciting.”
Wednesday night was the last night the Yankees will sleep in their own beds until they’re no longer playing baseball, as they will head out on a road trip to Boston and Buffalo, and then have to quarantine together in a team-capsule bubble – either in New York or at a neutral/road site – until eliminated.
To Boone’s one point, though, that “long time” may be less than usual, even with expanded playoffs, as the likelihood of there being no days off in the first three rounds of the postseason means that, instead of needing three starters and riding a bullpen, perhaps, all 28 men will need to chip in (just like the regular season). That does, however, also present challenges for the regular season, specifically in trying to get home field advantage for the one series that will be played “outside the bubble.”
“Of course we want to play here, that goes without saying – but the tricky part is, when you get to next weekend, are you really going to throw Cole or Masahiro (Tanaka) a full start on the weekend and jeopardize them for that short series?” Boone pondered. “Probably not, so I think we’re going to play it to win, but we might have to do it a little bit differently that final weekend. Whatever we’re playing for, we might have to do it different, but we’ll want it.”
To Boone, the stakes don’t necessarily mean, say, that Zack Britton would pitch five days in a row – “It’s hard for me to envision that,” he said – but it does mean that it won’t just be the cream of the crop ridden to the top, and the skipper thinks the Yankees are well-built for that.
“I really feel like the format is a good thing for us, because I feel like it will favor the better offenses. The reality of the situation is that it will be hard for one or two dominant starting pitchers to dominate a series like they traditionally do,” Boone said. “Obviously, they will have a huge say, but in a five or seven game series where you’re playing every day, all 12, 13, 14 pitchers, whatever it is, are going to play a role and pitch in a significant situation at some point in the series. Otherwise, guys will end up getting overused or overexposed, and will be less effective. The whole roster is absolutely going to be in play for every team.”
And that’s the one wrinkle that may make the Yankees, and perhaps every other team, have to re-think the way they approached the trade deadline.
“I think it is conceivable (the knowledge of no days off) could’ve changed some front office decisions,” Boone said. “I haven’t specifically asked Cash that, but it’s definitely fair to wonder that.”
Listen to Boone’s entire segment below!