Yankees manager Aaron Boone is still under fire for his strategy following the ALDS loss to the Red Sox that ended his inaugural season as the skipper. But former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera doesn't understand the scrutiny.
In fact, Rivera thinks Boone did a "tremendous" job with the Yankees, per Newsday's Laura Albanese.
Rivera, who was at a fire house in Harlem on Thursday to teach elementary school kids about fire safety, said Boone was the motivator the Yankees hoped him to be in his first season. And with the right offseason moves, this team could certainly make a deeper run into the postseason than they did this year.
"To me, he did an outstanding job, absolutely great job with those guys and hopefully next year, you give him the help that he needs to get to the next level," Rivera said.
Rivera's mindset isn't the most popular due to some questionable non-calls Boone decided to make in the ALDS. In Game 3 at Yankee Stadium, he decided to leave Luis Severino in for the fourth inning despite struggling the inning beofre. That backfired and so did his decision to bring in Lance Lynn with the bases loaded and nobody out. What ensued with a seven-run inning that blew the game wide open.
And in Game 4, Boone didn't have anyone warming up in the win-or-go-home contest when CC Sabathia had runners on the corners and no outs in the third. It turned into a three-run inning, and gave the Sox just enough to eek out a 4-3 win in the end.
But Rivera didn't focus on that. Instead, he believes some bad luck contributed to the way things played out.
"If we would've had a hit or two in the later innings, we wouldn't be talking about this," he said. "I'm disappointed."
Though they fell short, the talent on this ballclub has sparked comparisons to Rivera's Core Four team that brought home a few World Series trophies. He has "no doubt" the current Yankees can do the exact same down the road.
"No doubt about it," Rivera said. "We need a little help with the pitching staff in the starting rotation. We need a guy that can go down there and shut down teams. But at the same time, they have all the players -- all the qualities, all the abilities. Everything that they need to win, they have it. They have to execute."
Out of the game for five years now, Rivera will be on his first Hall of Fame ballot this January. And though he has been away from the game for so long, he doesn't have any immediate desire to return in form. He said he doesn't ever want to manage or become a pitching coach due to his ties with his family.
However, he did mention taking a special advisor role with the Yankees if it presented itself.