The fun part about baseball is this: Anyone can be a manager.
This is so forever. The Sandlot children in Parkchester and Highbridge were probably discussing whether Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig should hit 3-4 or back. Neighboring Wise Men in Bushwick and Brownsville have argued over whether Gill Hodge should be taken down in batting order – or fall completely – when he went 0-for-21 in the 1952 World Series.
And begins in 1963 when Strat-O-Matic started to assign one card to each MLB player … Well, we not only played the role of manager, we were the manager. Generations of increasingly sophisticated video games have only improved experience. [I like to think I was in front of the sewing head curve because I always loved to buy Dave Kingman when I was a kid. Give him more chances to swing for the fences!]
So of course, we all have our opinions on what Aaron Boone should be like, with his quilt order Thursday when the clouds are expected to clear and we will take ALCS Game 4, Masahiro Tanaka vs. Zack Greinke, the Yankees were desperate to get back in the lineup and the Astros were looking for a hammer.
So let's get into Boone's head and his T-shirt # 1
1. Aaron Hicks, CF
2. Aaron Judge, RF
3. DJ LeMahieu, 1B
Yes, LeMahieu is a great anchor, but he's just as good as the No. 3 guy, and he's leading the team in wadding this year (and hitting .385 in this series). And Judge … well, leave him where he is.
But if Hicks really came back – he looked good from making a late-inning cameo in Game 2 – then two things really have to happen. First, he has to be in the squad, since as a switch hitter his left bat is essential to the Astros righteous parade. Whether that means remaining as Giancarlo Stanton's replacement or Bret Gardner's new performance depends on Stanton's health. Either way, he has to enter.
Secondly, since he has the most discriminating eye in the line, he must bring it out. The key to Yankees hereafter is "traffic" – put as much pressure on the Astros steels as you can, increasing the number of high-stress passes and high levers they need to throw. Hicks made two walks from Gerrit Cole in Game 2. That's what he does.
4. Gleyber Torres, 2B
5. Edwin Encarnacion, DH
6. Gio Urshela, 3B
For the truth, you could easily turn Torres over to LeMahieu. In each row that puts your top three strikers in 2-3-4 slots, glove for even the toughest nose. It's pretty clear that Boone was wrong when he hit Torres in fifth place in Game 3 – getting him on the plate as often as possible is far more rewarding than breaking the line.
Gambling here is Ursela, whose offense has turned into what we thought he profiled as before this season's revelation, with a line of .217 / .250 / .391 in six postseason games so far. Still, if you don't believe his entire .314 / .355 / regular season, 534 was a mirage – and that would be pretty lucrative in 132 games – he offers a healthier bat than the bottom third of the order.  7. Giancarlo Stanton, LF
8. Gary Sanchez, C
9. Didi Gregorius, SS
See, whether you like it or not, Sanchez will play.
"Let's start with the other side of the ball, which is completely lost in that," Boone said, at the beginning of the elaborate defense of his shaking hunter. "He was excellent behind the plate in terms of play, game plan, goal, receiving. … The bottom line is his work this postseason and to be honest, in the second half of the season defensively, he was excellent. So this part makes me feel really good about it.
"And just knowing how talented an offensive player is, I always get the feeling that he's on the pitch or off the bat, that he really locks in and changes course. per game. So clearly he was not his best offended, but with a man as talented as he is, I think he's always just around the corner. "
That's how he stays. But from then on, he'll have to make his way through the 8 holes. If indeed Gardner isn't, and Stanton plays left on Thursday, you might have to replace him and Gregory to give 9 But if Stanton is good to go, then Gardner, always a loyal soldier, must be an odd man on the squad.
Now hand me the dice …