Yankees’ struggles on players, not Aaron Boone

BUFFALO — Aaron Judge said Aaron Boone never should have been under fire, despite the team’s poor play throughout much of the season, and credited the manager with the recent turnaround.

Asked about the blame directed toward Boone, especially after the Yankees dropped a pair of games in Philadelphia over the weekend, Judge said it should be pointed at him and his teammates instead.

“That comes on us and me specifically,’’ Judge said before the Yankees closed out their series against the Blue Jays at Sahlen Field. “As a leader of this team, I’ve got to step up in big situations. I would never put it on a manager or a coach. It’s on the players. It’s on us.”

And he said some talks by Boone helped the team snap out of its funk, that he believes bottomed out around the time of the sweep by the Red Sox in The Bronx.

Aaron Judge and Aaron Boone
Aaron Judge said that it is not Aaron Boone’s fault for the Yankees’ recent performance.
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“He’s the skipper,’’ Judge said of Boone. “He’s always cool, calm and collected. When he gets fired up, he means business, and that perked some ears.”

As did hovering near .500 in the standings.

“I was tired of having meetings about a slow start,’’ Judge said. “I was tired of hearing that. We really locked in.”

Boone had several talks with the team that were effective, according to Judge.

‘[Boone] talked to us and a couple of hitting coaches, and players spoke up and said, ‘Enough is enough,’ ’’ Judge said. “ ‘We’re better than this, we know we’re better than this. We’ve got to raise our standards, fellas.’ Once we had an honest conversation, honed in.”

Because the team struggled for long enough.

“Everyone said, ‘Eventually we’ll get there,’ ” Judge said. “Eventually’s got to happen right now. We know that as a team. It’s a long season, but it’s about guys being accountable. We’re starting to see that.”

He likes the fight the team showed in the first two games of the series against Toronto.

“I think that shows what this team is made of,’’ Judge said. “This whole year, when we got down early, we’ve been pretty flat. That’s not the team we are. We’re a team that can come back [from] 5-0, 3-0. It doesn’t matter with this team. We started to show that a little bit in the Red Sox series, even though we didn’t do our job.”

Judge entered Thursday with a team-high 15 homers and said he felt OK — despite recent issues with back spasms, which followed side soreness and lower-body soreness that slowed him earlier in the season.

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