Aaron Boone delivers message to Yankees after ugly series-opening Red Sox loss – Boston Herald

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Fresh off their sixth loss in a row and with his Yankees two games under .500, Aaron Boone talked to his struggling team on Friday night after the Red Sox beat them, 8-3.

“Acknowledging what we’re going through and making sure that we’re controlling how we come in each day and how we prepare,” Boone said Saturday morning when asked what message he sent. “And also remembering to make sure [we] don’t lose sight of the fact why you start playing this game, either. And that’s because it was fun and you’re probably pretty good at it. Don’t lose sight of that, especially when it’s hard and different guys are feeling it in different ways. Come in with that edge and that little chip on your shoulder ready to prepare and work. But when it comes time to play, go out there and have fun playing the game.”

The manager went on to say that he believes his message is getting through to the team, though the results have not shown that. Boone added “we’re OK” when asked about the Yankees’ morale.

“I mean, definitely wearing it,” he said. “Not fun going through this. But I feel like we’re OK, and I do feel like a turnaround is coming.”

Boone has said that the Yankees have the players, fight and work ethic to correct course. But when asked what’s missing after Friday’s loss, he left that up to reporters to figure out. Rookie shortstop Anthony Volpe said “probably just energy and fun and enjoying the game” when asked a similar question.

The Yankees entered Saturday’s game against the Red Sox with a 60-62 record and seven games out of the final wild card spot, which the Mariners occupied. Boston was three games out, while Toronto was a half-game back.

Still, Boone believes a strong finish is possible. In the past week, he’s referenced successful teams that went on “unlikely runs,” including recent Braves, Phillies and Nationals squads.

“We have 40 games left, and there’s not just occasional — there’s a lot of examples, a lot of recent examples even, of teams turning it around. Now, I also recognize we haven’t put ourselves in any kind of position or certainly given anyone a thought like why we would get back into it,” Boone said, but he added that the same applied to those teams that went on to reach or win the World Series.

“The reality is we still have a chance, and we got to kind of prepare and compete every day with a mind that today’s the day we turn it around. But it’s not even about down the road. It’s like today, come and put our best foot forward and expect today’s the day we get something going.”

OTHER HAVE OVERCOME INJURIES

After Friday’s loss, Boone was asked if it’s shocking that the Yankees haven’t been able to overcome injuries like they have in past years.

“It’s frustrating and disappointing,” the skipper said. “But again, and we get these questions all the time, you got to keep moving forward. And you got to do all you can to not succumb to that and do your best to come in and fix it every day. It doesn’t matter what happened tonight and yesterday. We gotta keep going. The season will swallow you up if you let it consume you. So it’s not about reflecting right now. It’s about getting guys ready to play and ready to play at a high level.”

The Yankees — including Boone, Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner — have cited the team’s injuries all season when discussing the Bombers’ struggles. The Yankees have had 28 injured list stints this year, according to FanGraphs.

But other teams have managed to succeed in spite of poor health. While not all IL stints are created equal, the Dodgers have had 27 and are in first place. The Braves have had 23 and are in first place. The Rangers have had 20 and are in first place. The Brewers have had 28 and are in first place. The Twins have had 33 and are in first place.

Then there are teams in possession of a wild card spot: the Rays have had 21 IL stints, the Reds have had 30, and the Giants have had 36.

The Red Sox, who lead the Yankees in the standings, have had 25 IL stints.

The bottom line: other teams have found ways to win, often without some of their best players. The Yankees have not.

MCKINNEY’S BACK

Speaking of health, Boone said Saturday that Billy McKinney is dealing with some back stiffness, though he expected the outfielder to be available off the bench.

“Billy’s a little beat up even though he played through it yesterday,” Boone said. “I don’t think it’s a big deal.”

With McKinney out of the lineup Saturday, Greg Allen made his first start since July 30.

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