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Onus on Boone to lead

Spotlight is on second-year Yankees manager Aaron Boone to lead the Yankees in an early season crisis that features going 2-4 in the homestand and dealing with 10 players on the injured list.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone offered more cliches and excuses than answers after the Yankees’ 2-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.

He mentioned his players are resilient and they will bounce back after the Yankees lost two straight to the Tigers. He cited about the time of day and low visibility in reference to shadows blinding the hitters to see pitches as a reason the Yankees struck out 18 times. He said a Major League season is a gauntlet filled at adverse situations all the time that comes in many shapes and sizes.

Boone did not demand accountability from his hitters. He shrugged about these losses rather than go on a rant. Forget screaming at the writers to get his point across to the hitters. None of that.

Yankees fans knew better than to think Boone would stray from his even-keeled personality. No one can fault Boone for not going off on his players this early in the season.

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But make no mistake. He has to show he can lead through tough times. He never experienced it in the regular season and when times were tough in the postseason, he couldn’t get his players to respond.

Six games in, and crisis engulfed the Yankees with 10 players on the disabled list along with losing series to the awful Baltimore Orioles and offensively-challenged Tigers at Yankee Stadium. No one envisioned this happening when the Yankees started their season.

The Yankees banked on an easy schedule to help them stay afloat, and it did not happen. The Orioles and Tigers outplayed them, and that’s on the manager whether it’s fair or not. His job description means he has to get his players prepared and have them find something to extra to perform in these winnable games.

For the Yankees to strike out 18 times against the Tigers, it speaks poorly on how Boone and the coaches have his players go about their approach. It’s all about hitting home runs or striking out. This team struggles to put the ball in play or make contact. The Yankees played like they have not worked on it this entire spring training, and the results show.

The Yankees lacked sense of urgency in a game they had to win on Wednesday. It was like guys did not seem frustrated or bothered about losing Tuesday night’s game. They approached this game as if it was spring training. It would have been nice if someone acted like Paul O’Neill by throwing a temper tantrum just to get everyone’s attention or show they cared.

Boone’s Zen approach can be a strength, but it can be a weakness. The players need to be pushed and cajoled to play at a high level. No one wins in a pennant in April, but they could lose them. If the Yankees fail to the playoffs or win the division, there’s no doubt we can look back at those losses in this homestand. The point is this team should be playing with a sense of urgency each game.

The Yankees have no business losing a game to the Orioles and losing the series to the Tigers. Even with Miguel Andujar, Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton and Didi Gregorius on the injured list, they shouldn’t be struggling to score runs. Striking out 18 times Wednesday is hard to do, even in a sport now that encourages strikeouts.

Criticize Joe Girardi for many things, but say this about him, he always had his team ready to go when he managed the Yankees. The players found him to be overbearing when it came to overmanaging and micromanaging, but he got results from them, especially Gary Sanchez, who has regressed as a catcher under Boone.

Boone failed to have the Yankees play to another level of excellence. The young hitters have been okay at best, and the Yankees flamed out in the American League Division Series against the eventual World Series champion Boston Red Sox. He has not put the Yankees in a position to succeed.

Hiring Boone striked baseball observers as an interesting move to begin with. He had no managerial experience, and to have him manage a proud franchise like the Yankees in the biggest media market in the world seemed like a making of a disaster.

From watching him, he offers no confidence that he can get the job done as a tactician and a leader in his position. The more we know about this Yankees manager, the more we think he was hired to be a caretaker and a messenger.

Good thing for him that he does what Yankees general manager Brian Cashman tells him to do, so he won’t be fired anytime soon. George Steinbrenner passed away long time ago, so he does not have to worry about that, either.

Still, Boone needs to show his bosses why he is qualified to manage the Yankees.

He can start now by leading his team in an early season crisis.

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