He's justifiably confident, too, with Gerrit Cole heading to the mound for Game 1, though the likely AL Cy Young winner, Shane Bieber, will be throwing for Cleveland. The big question was who would be behind the plate receiving Cole's darts from the mound, and Boone gave the answer everyone was expecting.
"Higgy will catch tomorrow," he said, talking about backup catcher Kyle Higashioka.
Cole has found a groove with Higashioka of late, and being that this is the Yankees' ace and he was brought to New York for postseason starts like this, having him as comfortable as possible means Gary Sanchez won't be getting the start.
It's nothing against Sanchez, as Boone pointed out, adding that it was a very tough decision to make. Cole and Higashioka have simply found a rhythm that isn't worth breaking to start a best-of-three series, even the latter doesn't have postseason experience.
Sanchez, then, will be waiting in the wings whenever the Yankees need him.
“In Gary’s case, as I talked to him today, he’s got to be ready early, middle part of this game there could be a big situation that calls for him," Boone said.
Here's what else the Yankees skipper touched on before Game 1:
Roster isn't finalized just yet
"We’re close to deciding it. We had a pretty long spirited meeting today with the front office, with the coaches, with the extended staff at the hotel where we really kinda went through in detail the merits of going one way or another. We’re kinda letting that sit and letting everyone’s opinion kinda fester a little bit and sink in and hope to finalize things later today and into the evening.”
James Paxton could be option down the road
"He is making progress and part of the reason he’s here is because of the progress he’s made to throwing again. He could be an option toward the end of the postseason.”
Any message to Cole prior to Game 1?
“One of the awesome things about Gerrit is [I] have a lot of conversations with him everyday about everything from hardcore pitching to just life. He’s someone that’s constantly engaged in conversations. So as far as much more, he’s ready to go. He knows what he wants to do.”
No qualms about do-or-die Wild Card Round
“It’s 2020. We are grateful as athletes, as coaches, as employees to be working at this time of year. To be able to get through this season and to be in a postseason situation, there’s a lot of people that were grateful to Major League Baseball. The people that have supported us along the way: the security guards, the bus drivers, the trainers that have been through so much. The fact that we’re here getting ready to start a postseason, yeah, it’s a little unconventional. Obviously like nothing we’ve experienced before. We’re grateful for this opportunity. Best two out of three — so be it.”
Message to the team
“We’re in control of our destiny. Everyone starts even right now and we’ve been through a lot, everyone been through a lot, to get to this point and we have an amazing opportunity to go compete for a championship. Looking around the room, we have all the equipment necessary to go realize that goal if we play well."