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October 18, 2019

Aaron Boone

New York, New York - postgame 5

New York - 4, Houston - 1

Q. Do you have a plan yet for the next two days?
AARON BOONE: No. Seve is set for Game 7. Tomorrow we'll just figure it out. We'll kind of talk about it tonight on the plane which way we want to go. But it will probably be a little bit of everyone.

Q. So obviously a bullpen game?

Q. What's your take on the state of the game of baseball where you come down to a Game 6 of the ALCS and both teams are going with a bullpen game?
AARON BOONE: I think it's both teams trying to get outs and trying to do it the best way we can. We've had some -- obviously a lot of guys go down this year and different people not available. We'll just do our best to piece it together.

Q. Obviously this series has been a lot of missed offensive opportunities, BUT Hicks hits the home run in the first. What's going through your mind when he hits it? Is it a sense of relief for you guys offensively or a sense of expectation?
AARON BOONE: It was just a really good string of at-bats together against obviously Justin, who's probably the best time to hopefully get to him is early. With DJ going out there and getting into one and then Judge and Gleyber finding the chalk down there. I thought Giancarlo worked a really tough at-bat. And then Hicks, the same thing, and he was able to clip him.

It was huge to get off to that start, especially after they scored a run in the first inning. I think it really got our crowd into it even more so. And really Pax took it from there.

Q. Going out to talk to James before Chirinos' at-bat, what motivated you to do that and what was that conversation like?
AARON BOONE: Frankly, I was up in the air walking out there. I liked the matchup and how he was attacking Chirinos. The last thing I wanted him to do was throw it down in a heater, which was a mistake that almost got him. I felt like I just wanted to get a look at Gary and at Pax to see -- have a feel that he had a little bit left because obviously we were pushing him pretty far right there. But I felt like if he could execute, we liked the matchup there. He missed a spot and fortunately, got away from it.

But I thought James was great today. He came in with just an edge, a focus. And that first inning, which was work for him, he kind of whiffs on the Springer ball where he gets the soft contact, infield hit, and now all of a sudden they piece together a run. First two innings he's deep into the pitch count but he just kept going and felt like he got better as the night went on.

Q. Talk about DJ's contributions to punch right back. And his catch with the foul ball.
AARON BOONE: Yeah, it was huge. A tough play, especially on a night like tonight where it's cold and pop-ups anytime you're kind of going and there's a breeze to track it and just kind of out-competition the ball. He just competed hard for it to make a big play, almost turns a really nice double play there, the 3-6-3 that we almost turned.

But setting the tone. He's had some decent success against Verlander. To get us even right out of the chute there was big.

Q. The way that yesterday ended and today began with kind of another sloppy first inning, did you have any sense of dread and why do you think your team was able to pull out of that kind of bad continuation from last night?
AARON BOONE: They're a tough group. They really are. So certainly that first inning started a little rough. But it didn't phase them. They continued to grind, continued to make plays. Obviously the first inning our home half really I think settled them in a little bit.

But it's what they've been good at all year is coming in the next day with an energy and a focus and an edge and a hunger. And it showed up again today. I'm not surprised but it was really good to see after last night.

Q. Back to the mound for a second. You go out there, you decide not to take him out of the game, and first pitch the ball is heading out to the stands in left field. What is going through your mind at that point, you're thinking, Maybe I made a mistake here?
AARON BOONE: Yeah, just seeing the ball almost in slow motion, feeling like it's coming in down and in right into the hot zone. And I'm like, Oh. But fortunately, it stayed in the ballpark.

No, I felt good about the decision. Again, I felt like he was good. I felt like the matchup was right. But definitely when it first left the bat, Oh, no.

Q. You have a great group of guys in your clubhouse. How do you keep them motivated going back to Houston to win these two games?
AARON BOONE: I don't need to say a word tonight. Those guys took care of business today, man. They came in and got it done. And right after the game, we do our presentations and stuff, and it was energized, it was focused, it was intense.

First goal after last night was to get on the plane. And now we've got an opportunity to go play in a tough place. We look forward to that and can't wait.

Q. What was your view of Aaron's home run? Did you think it was going to go?
AARON BOONE: I did. And I didn't race up to look at it. I just kind of -- a lot of times what I do, especially in our dugout, anytime there's a ball hit I go right to the hitter, because the hitter will kind of tell you what happened, whether it's a foul ball.

So I didn't climb the stairs or anything. I'm in my spot there and I just watched Aaron and kind of listened to the crowd. So I knew he got it all. Obviously it was just going to be staying fair. So I just fixated my eyes on Aaron, and it was a big blow.

And just the quality of that at-bat. Verlander is a tough matchup for everyone, but especially Aaron. And the way he grinded through that at-bat and got a pitch was obviously huge.

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