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October 5, 2021

Aaron Boone

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Fenway Park

New York Yankees

Postgame Press Conference

Red Sox 6, Yankees 2

AARON BOONE: I thought his stuff was there. It seemed like his slider, he got going a little bit there early. The changeup that kind of leaked back in the middle, Bogaerts got him there in the first after a really competitive at-bat with Devers where he worked the walk on him. Obviously that was a tough blow there early in the first.

And then just coming back around, obviously Schwarber is able to get to a heater, looked like up above the zone maybe. So it was just a little bit of a grind for him. And, again, just getting hurt, you know, with some slug, with some pitches that leaked back there in the middle and they took advantage of them.

And obviously tonight wasn't a night where normally you get settled in and who knows where you go from there. I went and got him pretty quick, obviously but just a little misfire on a couple and they made him pay.

Q. The offense wasn't able to muster much but -- what led him to send Judge --

AARON BOONE: I think coming in, the ball coming in looked like it was going to be kind of an in-between hop to the infielder. Bogaerts did a good job of creating a hop, catching it clean and throwing it home and getting him and that squashed a potential rally there. I think what he saw was what he thought was going to be kind of an in-between hop and really a tough chance.

Q. What made Nate Eovaldi so tough today?

AARON BOONE: Like he always is. I mean, he has got great stuff. Up to a hundred miles an hour, his fastball cuts it. I thought he had his curveball going a little tonight with the splitter. He was able to change speeds, and he's a great strike thrower. He fills up the strike zone, and obviously got a lead there and was able to kind of take advantage.

But he's a guy that he's one of the best pitchers in the League, and it's because he has the tool set to do it. But he's got command. Last time didn't really necessarily have his splitter or curveball that really gives him a change of pace. Tonight he had that going for him a little bit and got in a pretty good rhythm.

Q. I assume you've had some time to speak to the team since the loss. What was your message to them and could you describe the mood in that clubhouse right now?

AARON BOONE: Guys are crushed. Unfortunately we have been in this position where fortunately we've been in the playoffs every year, but it hasn't ended how we wanted obviously. And tonight was another tough one to take. We've been through a lot of wars with guys in that room and, you know, we've got a lot of scars. So guys are bummed.

You pour a lot into this and I guess my message is, first of all, I'm always -- I'm grateful. I'm grateful to be able to compete with that group of guys. And one of the things I'm most proud of is this was a challenging year. This was not an easy year for us. When we had to play well the final two months and really compete at a high level, I thought we did that and put ourselves in a position and gave ourselves a chance to be in this game with an opportunity to do something special in October.

So I love the way we have competed and showed up the last couple months. But the other message is that, you know, the league's closed gap on us. We have to get better. We have to get better in every aspect, just getting a little bit better. It's not just the Red Sox and the Astros now in our league. Look at our division. The Rays are a beast, Toronto, and there's some teams in the Central that are getting better and better, teams in the West that are better and better, teams that have closed the gap on us.

And that needs to be, you know, front and center as guys prepare in the off-season and get ready for spring training next year that we have got to get better.

Q. How do you view the totality of the 2021 season: Expectations so high that weren't met or second half of the season bouncing back and getting into the playoffs?

AARON BOONE: Yeah, I think all of that. I love the compete of this group. And I thought that and our preparation and our focus and the urgency we played the game with the in final half of the season, really was great. But at the same time, you also look at what a challenging, tough year it was, and we weren't at our best all the time. So there's frustrations with that.

You feel like there's more on the bone there for us to have, and I'm proud of the fact we put ourselves in a position to give ourselves a chance and to have this awful feeling because we were playing for something meaningful.

Q. After the loss in San Diego, you said the ending is cruel. How would you characterize how 2021 ended?

AARON BOONE: Cruel. I mean, it is. Can't overemphasize how many people pour so much into giving ourselves a chance to compete for something special; and you make it to the postseason, sometimes around here that maybe is taken for granted. You can't take that for granted. The opportunity to compete in the postseason is special.

And, you know, you had to do some good things to get to this point and give yourselves an opportunity. And when it ends so abruptly after -- really, the preparation never ends, that nine, ten, eleven -month cycle that you're prepared to get to this point to give yourself an opportunity. The ending is really cruel, but there's nothing better than competing for something meaningful.

Q. When do you expect your situation to be addressed?

AARON BOONE: I don't know. I have no idea. We'll see.

Q. Do you expect to be back?

AARON BOONE: I mean, obviously you know, my contract is up, and you know, I haven't had any conversations with anyone about that. So we'll see. I love being here. I love going to work with this group and love going to work with this group of players. But you know, we'll see.

Q. And you had a different lineup today. Do you look back on any of those decisions or second-guess any of those decisions, whether it was Gallo hitting clean-up or anything else?

AARON BOONE: No. No, not tonight.

Q. When you came out to remove Cole, it was a pretty certain thing, signalled, ready to go. He looked up and just kind mouthed, time out, like he was surprised, maybe he wasn't. You sent your best out and only got six outs out of him; was it a stunning blow to you guys?

AARON BOONE: Yeah, not easy. Especially just how great a pitcher Gerrit is and how much respect I have for him and how much I know he wants it and prepares for it and competes for it. So you know, it's a difficult decision but I felt like the one I needed to make.

Q. It was a tough offensive night, obviously a lot of that has to do with Eovaldi. The offense in general, how do you fix the offense here?

AARON BOONE: Yeah, I mean, that's obviously been our calling card here, right, for the last several years, whether it's leading the league in being the best offensive team or one of the top two offensive teams. And then this year, you know, wasn't the case. We struggled at times. We didn't score the runs like we normally would, so we've got to examine a lot of things and where can we help guys that are going to be back here, where can we help them get better individually. Are there things we can do to help them? Obviously there will always be some personnel shakeups, and roster construction gets a little bit different each and every year and hopefully it all works to be a slightly better fit.

But this was overall just tough for us to really be the offensive juggernaut we've kind of come to expect, and I'm not sure why we didn't realize our potential there.

Q. Aaron, following up on that, do you think that you need some wholesale changes with the positional group to be a better positional group in whole, not only at the plate, defense, on the bases, etc.?

AARON BOONE: Well, I think, you know, you're always searching and working to find a more perfect roster and a more perfect fit. So you're always trying to improve. And you know, sometimes whatever the shortcomings for a team that ultimately goes on and wins the World Series, we are all trying to be that most complete team we can possibly be. So that work never ends.

You know, every team is kind of searching for that and trying for that. You know, the good thing is we have a lot of great players and a lot of great men in that room, and I feel like a lot of great leadership in that room. And hopefully we can supplement it properly moving forward to give us that, ultimately, that perfect team -- not the perfect team, but the best team.

That's a never-ending, I guess, clay you're trying to mold.

Q. Just going back to Cole for a second, his problems go beyond tonight. Over the last month or so, you have 18 earned runs in 19.2 innings. Something is clearly wrong or has been for a couple weeks. Can you put your finger on it?

AARON BOONE: I think it's subtle. I mean, they haven't missed a mistake on him, you know, and that doesn't always happen, especially when you're as great as Gerrit Cole is. It's like, sometimes you make a mistake and it's a base hit. It seems like in these games where he's made a mistake with a pitch, they have hit it out of the ballpark. And part of that is some great plays against him, some great hitters against him that have taken advantage, but he's been unfortunate when he has made a mistake.

I do feel like his stuff has been there. I feel like he's throwing the ball pretty well. Maybe just not quite as sharp as he is when he's, you know, the best in the game.

Q. Do you think he's been healthy all along? He said his hamstring is fine but do you think that played any role down the stretch?

AARON BOONE: It's certainly possible. He's a gamer and a competitor. But I do think he was sound health-wise. But it's fair to -- you know, I mean, if you go back, he had COVID, came back, had the hamstring. Do you add it all up and it factors, and those factors can be small, but can have big effect. I do think he was sound and capable of going out and pitching like the dominant ace that he is, but I think it's fair that at least the interruptions of his season in the second half with COVID and the hamstring could have contributed some.

Q. Did you consider pinch-hitting Sánchez in the fifth?

AARON BOONE: I did, with two out, nobody on, I wanted to hold back in case there was a situation where I needed to shoot Gary in a bigger spot, had they gone to a lefty or something in the middle of the lineup coming back around. So if anyone had gotten on base at that point, I would have hit for him. He was prepared to hit but once we were two outs, nobody on, I didn't want to do it yet.

Q. I believe you're just the second manager to start his career with four consecutive trips to the postseason. Given that, if your employer decided to make a change, would you see that as an unfair decision and if not, why not?

AARON BOONE: I mean, look, all I can say is that I love doing this, I love doing this with this group. I felt incredibly supported from the organization and ownership and Cash and front office and on down.

Whatever happens moving forward, you know, I'll be at peace with. You know, I walk out of here tonight proud of what a lot of people have done here since I've been here. And it's a group and a shared effort, and I love going to battle with all these guys, players, coaches, support staff, front office. So we'll see what happens on that front. But whatever does happen, I'm at peace with and I know that I can hold my head high.

Q. You said that the league has closed the gap with you guys. Do you believe the way your team has played over the last couple of years has played like a team that's been really leading the pack in baseball?

AARON BOONE: Looking back to 2018 and 2019, I feel like it was a few teams that were -- you know, I felt like we were one of those teams, like truly capable, and really razor-thin between us winning the World Championship and the Red Sox or the Astros. You know, last year was obviously a little different and odd and whatever.

But this year, I do feel like there's more teams that are on the come that are way more competitive with us and that have closed the gap with us. It not just the Rays and Red Sox and Astros anymore. It the Blue Jays. It's the Central teams that are coming. It the Mariners and Angels. These teams are on ground with us and we need to keep on getting a little bit better.

Q. You talked a lot this year about how you guys can play when you guys are at your best and we know that natural talent level you guys have on the roster and how the results turned out. What does the gap between what you expect for this team and what you felt this team is capable and the results, what does that make you feel when you look at it at this point?

AARON BOONE: I'm not sure. Can you ask it again?

Q. What is the feeling? Is it frustration? Is it disappointment?

AARON BOONE: About the season?

Q. Yeah.

AARON BOONE: It's been a challenging, tough year, you know, because we have had the peaks and valleys, and you strive for consistency, right? You know, it's hard to achieve.

You know, that said, we took a lot of lumps this year and had a lot of tough things happen to us and still managed to get over 90 wins and give ourselves a chance in the postseason. So I always try and reflect, especially as you get away from it a little bit in the days ahead and not be so emotional about it and knowing that this year was taxing and heavy and such a grind.

And while I do feel like there's a lot more teams that, as I talked about, closed that gap, I also feel like we are, as we have been the last few years, really close to being the best team, too. And we are not there yet and we haven't got over that hump since I've been here ask that's what we need to keep working at. FastScripts by ASAP Sports ...

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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