After taking the first game of the series, the New York Yankees now trail the Cleveland Guardians 2-1 in the ALDS. They blew a multi-run lead in the ninth inning, marking one of the worst postseason losses ever for the franchise. Fans will be looking at manager Aaron Boone as a key reason for the loss due to his decision not to use Clay Holmes in the ninth inning.
Holmes, who appeared in 1.1 innings over the first two games of the series and allowed just one walk and one HBP, was dealing with soreness but said he was ready to go if the Yankees needed him. Boone went with Clarke Schmidt instead of him and watched as he allowed three runs.
Clay Holmes says he was surprised he wasn't called upon in the 9th inning:
"I woke up today preparing to pitch if needed." pic.twitter.com/giJFoKS3hW
— Yankees Videos (@snyyankees) October 16, 2022
“Somewhat, yeah,” Clay Holmes said when asked if was surprised that he didn’t get the call for the ninth inning. “I mean, that’s some of the roles I’ve pitched in the last few days. But, maybe there’s more that goes into the decision.” The Yankees closer said that he didn’t hear more about the decision for him not to appear late in Game 3, though Boone did reportedly talk to him about it later on.
Boone explained after the game that Holmes was only to be used in an emergency situation, which, in his eyes, means that all other possibilities were exhausted beforehand. Schmidt inherited two runners already on base from Wandy Peralta, who Boone left in after closing out the seventh inning and pitching a clean eighth inning.
The Yankees will face the Guardians on Sunday night to keep their season alive. They will certainly need Aaron Boone to be at his best but they also need a boost from their offense. Aaron Judge came alive in Game 3 with a home run and will need to do more of the same in order to help force Game 5.