A rookie skipper automatically gets some rope to navigate his way up the managerial learning curve, but what happens when the rope begins to fray?
Yankees manager Aaron Boone has been provided more leash than others due to a 50-22 start. But, since the exceptional opening to the season, Boone's Yankees are 19-20 and lost five straight games before Monday night's win in Chicago.
Boone has called the span of lackluster play a "blip," and repeatedly says there is not an energy problem. After the sweep at the hands of the Red Sox, Boone said the Yankees were "too good" to let it define them.
His defining moment as the Yankees' manager has arrived, as more and more whispers about his abilities surface. Boone has lots of things to work through to prove he belongs at the helm of one the game's finest rosters...
Boone must create the best lineup over the next several weeks with a roster that includes players like Kyle Higashioka, Shane Robinson, Austin Romine, Luke Voit and Neil Walker, with Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez on the disabled list.
The desire to rest players is understandable, but the Yankees are younger than they've been in a long time, and Boone is going to have to push players a bit to put out the best ones on a daily basis. There needs to be a lot less of Voit and Robinson.
Get better grip on pitching staff
Boone's most glaring weakness centers on his handling of the pitching staff. He is typically slow to make decisions where it concerns removing a pitcher -- regardless of role.
Boone has also allowed too much time between appearances for his relievers. Each of the endgame relievers, most notably Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman, require regular work to maintain their mechanics in an effort to curtail more wildness than normal.
Some of the blame has to be placed on pitching coach Larry Rothschild, but Boone is his boss. So, if the skipper is not getting enough from Rothschild or any of his coaches, he needs to make it clear that their focus has to improve as well.
Hold players accountable
The sluggish play and fundamental lapses we've seen of late are surely the player's faults. However, there is a part to play for Boone.
When they occur and a trend develops, it is incumbent upon Boone to nip it in the bud. We have seen poor decisions on the bases, in the field, and with some hitter's approaches at the plate. While the player is physically responsible, Boone must get the message out that he is aware and handling the situations, rather than spewing redundant commentary that all is well.
Show some urgency
There is a good deal of debate as to whether or not it is Boone's responsibility to personally light a fire under players. It may be time for his calm, cool demeanor to occasionally take a back seat to a more animated persona. I'm not talking tipping tables over in the clubhouse or getting in players faces in the dugout. However, when moments arise in a game -- a game-shifting bad call by an umpire for example -- Boone needs to demonstrate to his players that everything matters now, and show he is fully invested in making sure the team is heading in the right direction.
There is a faction of fans blame many of the Yankees' issues on Boone, some going so far to say he should be removed from his role. I'm not at the firing stage, but Boone's learning curve needs an adrenaline boost right now. There is no time to delay.