In the Major League Baseball postseason, you have to be aggressive to win. And sometimes, aggressiveness reaches the line of stupidity.
The New York Yankees crossed the stupidity line Tuesday.
With the Boston Red Sox up 3-1 in the top of the sixth inning of the American League Wild Card Game, Aaron Judge singled to bring the tying run, Giancarlo Stanton, to the plate. Stanton laced a ball off the left-center field portion of the Green Monster, and it skidded past left fielder Alex Verdugo and rolled right to center fielder Kiké Hernández.
Hernández uncorked a throw to cutoff man Xander Bogaerts, who turned and fired it to the plate because Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin sent Judge home.
Judge was out by a mile.
The next hitter, Joey Gallo, popped out to third base, ending the inning and the Yankees’ best chance for runs. Boston then would add a run in the bottom half of the frame, as well as two more the following stanza, to secure the win.
New York isn’t second-guessing the move, however.
“My mindset as a runner is I’m going as hard as I can until I’m told not to,” Judge told reporters after the game, via The New York Post. “We gotta take chances. That didn’t win or lose this game for us.”
Said Yankees manager Aaron Boone: “The ball coming in looked like it was going to be an in-between hop to (Bogaerts). Bogaerts did a good job of creating a hop, catching it clean and throwing it home and getting him. That kind of squashed a potential rally.”
When the cameras flashed to Stanton at second base, he looked visibly miffed, but that was not a sentiment he expressed afterwards.
“It was bang-bang,” Stanton said. “Had to be two relatively perfect throws to get him out. You can take the chance there.”
As Judge said, the Yankees did not lose Tuesday purely because of that play. However, it sure didn’t help.