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October 7, 2018

Aaron Boone

New York, New York - Workout Day

Q. Video circulated last night on social media of Aaron Judge walking past the Red Sox clubhouse playing "New York, New York." What do you think of that?
AARON BOONE: It's a good song. And Aaron, he's one of our resident deejays, so he's got a pretty extensive playlist. I guess that's the one that was going. We like to hear that song sometimes when we win a big game.

I saw it. I think it's fun. It's something to talk about. But I think it's just a good-natured whatever.

Q. What if a Red Sox player walked past your guys' clubhouse playing "Sweet Caroline"?
AARON BOONE: I like that song too actually. So whatever. I think both teams are really good, have a lot of respect for each other, and I'll just kind of leave it at that.

Q. The fact that they're going with Eovaldi tomorrow, does that impact what you do?
AARON BOONE: Possibly. I'm going to talk to my coaches and just see if there's anything different we might consider doing if we want to get anyone in there. Obviously, a lot will depend on Hicks and seeing if he's good to go and all that. It's something we'll talk about and consider if there's any tweaks we'll make at all to our lineup, but I haven't decided that yet.

Q. I was just going to ask: Is there any update on Hicks, and do you expect him available tomorrow night?
AARON BOONE: Yeah, I'm hopeful he is. He's been getting treatment now, feels better today, but we're not going to do much with it today. I think we'll really get after it and test it out again tomorrow and kind of make a decision on it. But hopeful that he'll be able to go.

Q. Yankee Stadium is not really a pitcher's park, but you guys have pitched better at home than on the road this year, Severino really has. What do you think is behind that?
AARON BOONE: Well, there's places to go, and I think sometimes when we talk hitter's park, pitcher's park, we always just go right to the home run, and that's not always the only indicator. So there's places to go in this ballpark. I mean, you hit the ball to left center, center field, it's a big park.

I think we do a good job, our team is kind of built around our lefties, of course, but even our right-handed hitters are very good at taking advantage of the short porch in right field, but not every team is necessarily equipped to do that. Plus we have good pitchers.

It's not like some of those small ballparks out there where there's no place to go. There is here.

Q. Aaron, if you don't have Hicks tomorrow night, can you wait another day for him?
AARON BOONE: Oh, yeah. You mean, as far as making a roster decision?

Q. Yes.
AARON BOONE: Absolutely. Because at worst, I feel like it's a day-to-day situation. So if we were going to make a move like that, then you'd potentially lose him for considerable time. I don't think we're anywhere near that.

Q. Does having Gardner around make that softer to take?
AARON BOONE: Absolutely, yeah.

Q. Aaron, Judge, after he came back from the DL, had just the one home run, didn't have a lot of production at the plate. What told you that he was going to be okay and that this kind of a start to the postseason would be possible for him?
AARON BOONE: At-bat quality, from the get-go. Even though he wasn't hitting the ball out of the ballpark a lot, obviously, the last whatever, ten games that he got to play in, he was right away I felt like doing what Aaron does; control the strike zone, good passes on balls. I thought he was hitting the ball fine.

And then even for guys that hit a ton of home runs, those are things that still come in bunches. Guys that hit a lot of home runs, it will go through a couple weeks where they won't hit a home run, and then all of a sudden you hit six in a week or something.

So, yeah, I wasn't worried. I was really encouraged actually with what I saw from him when he did come right off the DL, spending that amount of time and not getting a chance to have a rehab outing, that was my biggest concern was how is he going to be timing-wise, rust-wise, and I felt like he beat my expectations right out of the gate for that.

Q. Attendance here is second in the Major Leagues again this year, and it's up over 4,000 a game from last year. What do you have to say about the intensity, the crowds, and the interest in Yankee baseball over the last couple of years?
AARON BOONE: Yeah, I think that's something that really started last year, as this fan base, I feel like, absolutely connected with kind of this new generation of Yankee player, this young corps that has developed.

And me watching from afar last year, especially in the postseason, you could kind of see that raw intensity connection that the fan base had with the players, and that created a lot of buzz going into the winter obviously.

Some of the acquisitions, bringing in G and others over the winter, I think, created more excitement. And then going out and having a really strong season, seeing more young guys kind of come of age, and I think it's always evident how tied now this fan base is to this new crop of Yankee players. That's been fun to witness, and I think that's a reason why there's the interest there.

Q. And do you feel any sort of momentum shift? It's a short series, and every game is so important. Do you feel a shift for you guys coming into the next two games here?
AARON BOONE: I don't know. We've got to play well. We know we're up against a great team. We're really excited to come back and play in our ballpark where we feel like we have a home field advantage, where we know our fans are going to have an impact. We hand the ball to Sevy.

So we're excited about a lot of things going into tomorrow, but it really comes down to we've got to go out and perform and play well, and if we can do that, hopefully grab a lead in the series.

Q. When Severino was at his low point, how perplexing was it to you and Larry, particularly because there was no injury issue to deal with, to fall back on?
AARON BOONE: A little bit. A little bit of a head scratcher because we were still kind of seeing the velocity. But you also -- I can attest to this -- it's a really hard game, and this is a young man that's still evolving, I think, as an elite starting pitcher. Bumps in the road happen in this sport. This game will get you. This game will humble you at different times in your career, at different times in the course of the season, even when you're in the midst of a great season.

So I would say the thing I kept falling back on and that I was at least encouraged by is I didn't see any red flags as far as, man, the velocity's down or just something that leaped off the screen to me anyway that suggested that he couldn't right the ship. You know, I felt like there were some minor things that he could do from just a sharpening of the stuff, sharpening of the command, missing location a little bit too much over the course of games. We saw him start to get that back towards the end of the season. We started to see him really turn the corner at the end of the season and, I think, kind of get that swagger and that confidence back that he has when he's going so well.

And obviously, we saw him carry that into the Wild Card game and really set the tone for us.

Q. Sanchez, so different behind the plate the last three games. So last night also, he did something that didn't happen since way back with Yogi Berra, the two home runs in the playoffs. Is part of that the trust you make in him, or how can you explain that?
AARON BOONE: I explain that he's a really good player. I've been, obviously, answering a lot of questions about Gary over the last month and throughout this year. I've believed what I've told you in that I feel like we've seen a lot of strides and a lot of really positive things since he came back from the disabled list defensively.

Now, he was still having the occasional lapse or mistake that would happen that would show up that draws the attention, but I really feel strongly that 90, 95 percent of the stuff we're seeing was really impactful behind the plate. He's been able to do that so far in the postseason, limiting the mistakes. I think he's been really sharp from behind the plate from a receiving, blocking, game planning, game calling, really on top of his game.

And I also feel like over the last week or ten days, I feel like the at-bats have started to improve even when he wasn't getting a lot of results yet. We've started to see the walks happen a little bit, just control the strike zone a little bit better, and now all of a sudden, hopefully, a little bit of success kind of unleashes what is a massively talented offensive player. And we were able to see that in a big way last night.

And I'm just really excited for him to have that kind of night when I know how hard he's worked and I know how difficult in a lot of ways this year's been on him. So for him to get some results and a big win was pretty cool to see.

Q. Severino said he kind of knew it was going to be a four- or five-inning outing the last time. He looked almost like a reliever, just coming in and emptying his tank there. Can you be that aggressive with the same kind of approach in this kind of a game in a series like this?
AARON BOONE: Yeah, I don't know how he knew it was going to be four or five innings. But I think that's the thing we want our guys to go, as hard and as great as they can be, however long that is. So a little bit different than the regular season in that it could be three, could be four, could be -- but I'm still open to it being eight innings. I want him to go out and be himself and go out there and look to really set the tone for us and throw his game, and if he does that, hopefully, we'll be in a good spot at any time when we take him out tomorrow.

Q. Obviously, you and Alex Cora have been friends for a while. Have you guys spoken in recent days or weeks now that you're in this situation? Kind of how has that been?
AARON BOONE: I mean, we spoke a little bit before Game 1. It's been fine. Obviously, these games mean a lot. We're playing for a lot. But that doesn't change the respect I have for him and my feelings towards him. But we're competing against each other, and we both want something precious that we're both chasing after.

So a couple text messages, congrats, things like that, and we spoke a little bit before Game 1. So it's not weird or anything. It's just two guys that, I think, have a lot of respect for each other but are playing for a lot.

Q. Aaron, your fans haven't seen this in a long time, Red Sox-Yankees in the playoffs. What do you think this place will be like tomorrow night?
AARON BOONE: I think it's going to be amazing. I really do.

Going back to your question, I think the connection that our fan base and our fans now have with our players is a special one, and now you put it in the postseason, and you bring the Red Sox, who, obviously, that rivalry that's there and as great of a team as they were this season, I think the atmosphere tomorrow night is going to be special, electric, whatever you want to put on it. I think it's going to be there, and hopefully we can go out there and give them reason to keep building as the game unfolds.

I thought the atmosphere against the A's was special. I think there's a potential that it could be even more so tomorrow night.

Q. Aaron, are you locked in with CC as your Game 4 starter, or could anything happen that might change your mind on that?
AARON BOONE: We're pretty locked in there. I guess anything could happen tomorrow that throws a wrinkle in things, but anticipate CC's going in Game 4.

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