Boone After Yanks Fall In ALCS: “The ultimate pain you can feel in sports”

(Yankees Manager Aaron Boone – Photo by Jason Schott)

The Yankees lost the American League Championship Series on Saturday night when Jose Altuve got a two-run walk-off home run to give the Houston Astros a 6-4 win in Game 6.

This is the second time in three years the Yankees have lost to Houston in the ALCS, and it is now ten years that they have not reached the World Series.

“Just so many different emotions. Proud of all our guys,” Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said of his team, which won 103 games in the regular season. “The ultimate pain you can feel in sports, just knowing all that so many put into it. And just know how good of a club we have, to get back into it and then it to end that way, it’s hard and our guys are hurting.

“But I could not be more proud of them and the way they always compete. It will serve us well moving forward, when we get to the top of the mountain.

“I want to say congratulations to (Manager) AJ (Hinch) and the Astros. They have a great team, obviously. They made a couple more plays than we did.”

Here is the rest of what Aaron Boone said to the media Saturday night:

Q. So much of your season was built around the strength of your bullpen, and in particular the guys who gave up the runs tonight. How tough was that just to see those guys?
AARON BOONE: It’s going to happen. I thought Chappy hung a pitch and a great player got him. Tommy gave up a run, a little bit of a product of him probably being a little tired, too, at this point, having used him a lot here these last few days. Greeny gave up that home run early, but you kind of look at the pitch and it’s a great job by Gurriel. I think he was just uber-aggressive selling out on a fastball but in a certain spot, too, and somehow got to that and just hit it out.

And obviously a couple of those, that’s the difference in the ball game. Love how my guys compete always.

Q. With Marisnick on deck there, what is the thought to —
AARON BOONE: Yeah, certainly not a walk, an intentional walk situation, but kind of pitching him aggressively like you’re ahead the whole time. And I think Chappy did, he just hung a breaking ball. That’s obviously a pitch he’s trying to not give in and probably get down and out of the zone, see if you get a chase or something and he hung it.

Q. DJ is up out there following those four pitches to get to that pitch, at the time it completely changed the game.
AARON BOONE: Yeah, kind of embodies his season, that at-bat, so good. Off their closer, obviously. Just a really good battle and spoiled pitches, spoiled pitches, finally got one he could handle and ride out of there.

As that at-bat’s going on, just felt so good about him doing something. Knew he was going to put it in play hard somewhere, and sure enough he did. What more can you say about the season he’s had.

Q. You guys were the best in baseball during the regular season, hitting with runners in scoring position and then that continued against the Twins. Obviously a lot more struggles this week. How much is that their pitching?
AARON BOONE: I think a lot of credit certainly goes to them. But a lot of times the teams that eventually go home it’s sometimes a result of not capitalizing enough when you have opportunities.

Another day today where even though we scored four runs, had a couple of big hits, obviously, we had a lot of guys out there; 12, 15 baserunners-ish, I’m guessing. And just weren’t able enough in this series to kind of break through to change it the other way. Unfortunately for us, that’s a little bit of the difference.

Q. Obviously the Astros stopped you guys two years ago before you got here. Did it again this year. It’s a very small gap, I guess, but what can you do to close the gap with a team that good?
AARON BOONE: Continue to fight and work. I feel like we are on equal footing with them. Unfortunately, sports can be a little bit cruel for the team that goes home and such can happen in the series.

I think we’re a better team this year than we were last year. And we’ll work very hard in the winter in every phase, from the front office and the decisions we make with what players we bring in, what players we lose, things like that that are inevitable, continue to try to pour into our guys in the offseason about things to focus on to help them improve their game individually. I feel like we’ve made a lot of strides in that area.

But the work never ends. And we’ll continue to try and I guess close that gap or put ourselves in a position to get over the hump. I know everyone in our room believes we will and we’ll have a lot of battle scars when we do finally get to the top of that mountain.

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