As the Yankees spend this week preparing for the ALCS, their potential opponents — either the Astros or Rays — are battling each other in a hard-fought series that has forced both teams to churn through pitchers in high-stress games.
Aaron Boone is enjoying watching the teams fight it out, but not for the reasons one might think.
While it may seem to play in the Yankees’ favor to see the team they will face Saturday in Game 1 have to work to get there, Boone acknowledged the other side of that equation.
“I mean, in theory I guess that’s true,’’ Boone said during a conference call Wednesday. “But I’ve gotten that question a lot lately, even from some friends, even other coaches. Honestly, I kind of abide by the ‘careful what you wish for’ [theory]. Sometimes you don’t know what you’re pulling for. As much as you want a Game 5, maybe that ends up not working in your favor. Who knows?’’
Sometimes, as Boone noted, a team benefits from playing nearly every day, as opposed to having nearly a weeklong break at this point of the season.
Either way, Boone said the Yankees’ focus is on themselves and what they are doing.
“The biggest thing is we’re trying to take care of our house [and] make sure our players are in a good position,’’ the manager said. “Depending who our opponent is, we feel like we’ll be very buttoned up on having a game plan of attacking them.’’
In the meantime, he’ll continue to tune in, with the Rays and Astros set for a decisive game in Houston on Thursday.
“I’m certainly enjoying watching it unfold,’’ Boone said. “But I don’t really draw an advantage/disadvantage type thing. I don’t worry about that or consume myself with that at all.’’
Boone had no doubt the time off would do his team good.
“That’s actually one question, if you asked me being at this point on the job as opposed to when I first got it, that would have been something that I would always have had trepidation about, having a long layoff,’’ Boone said.
After beating the Twins to complete the sweep in Minnesota on Monday and coming back to The Bronx on Tuesday, the Yankees won’t play until Saturday. They have time to set up their rotation, with James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino all well-rested, as opposed to Houston using both Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole twice in the ALDS, while Tampa Bay will use Tyler Glasnow — and perhaps Blake Snell or Charlie Morton to advance.
“I look at this time of year, any time we get a couple extra days — I’m not talking about a week or 10 days — but this time around we get another four days off, I look at it as pretty much entirely a positive,’’ Boone said. “I think our guys really benefit from it. … Maybe it’s just with this team in particular, but it’s something that I totally embrace and I think benefits us. I know our guys will be ready. I know they prepare really hard behind the scenes to allow themselves to stay sharp.’’