CHICAGO – Isiah Kiner-Falefa has made three errors – as well as another miscue that was ruled a hit – in his last two starts at shortstop heading into the Yankees’ game Saturday night against the White Sox.
Manager Aaron Boone, though, isn’t worried about Kiner-Falefa’s defense.
“He’s so dynamic and athletic out there, he’ll get through this,” Boone said. “The plays he didn’t make [Friday] night, he’s got to make those. ”
Kiner-Falefa had made just two errors all season until his recent issues in the field and Boone acknowledged players can go into slumps defensively.
“You can get into little funk,” Boone said. “I think he has the ability to shake it, partly because of his athleticism. He plays the position with speed. You can see his foot speed and quickness and that serves him well.
Boone again mentioned what he considered the “soft” field at Guaranteed Rate Field, noting both teams dealt with tricky hops on Friday.
“You have to work around that and create your own hops,” Boone said.
After an inconsistent start to the season on offense, the Yankees entered Saturday having hit an MLB-high 48 homers – in part because they hit eight homers in their previous two games.
The surge has been led by Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, who had 12 and 10 homers entering Saturday.
“When they’re playing like this and we’re getting contributions from the rest of the lineup, that’s when we’re at our best,” Boone said. “It’s good to see them getting consistent at-bats and doing damage when they get a pitch to handle.”
Along with Anthony Rizzo’s nine homers, the Yankees had three of the top seven home run hitters in the majors.
“We’ll take that,” Boone said of the stat.
They also ranked first in the majors in OPS (.755) and slugging (.430).
“It’s an important part of the game,” said the manager. “We certainly have guys that can hit the ball out of the ballpark.”
And it shows that while there is some more diversity within the Yankees’ lineup, they’re still built primarily on power.
“One of the exciting things early on in the season we’ve talked about is the amount of ways we’ve been able to win ball games,” Boone said. “Low-scoring, defense, pitching and hitting it out of the ballpark. The fact we’ve swung it well the last couple nights, you just hope it continues to give us confidence we can win in a lot of different ways. ”
And they entered Saturday unbeatable when their offense is clicking: 15-0 when they scored at least five runs.
The first run Gerrit Cole allowed on Friday came on a balk, when he turned to throw to first and there was no one covering the bag.
Boone blamed it on “not quality enough communication.”
“It’s something we addressed and it shouldn’t happen,” Boone said. “We need to make sure we’re airtight.”