Everything was going so well for the Yankees in Game 2 of the ALDS against Cleveland. They had knocked out Indians’ starter Corey Kluber, the likely AL Cy Young Award winner, en route to an 8-3 lead in the sixth inning.
With two outs and two men on base, New York’s Chad Green hit Cleveland’s Lonnie Chisenhall with an 0-2 pitch. Or did he? Catcher Gary Sanchez, who caught the ball, yelled “Foul!” and looked over at the Yankee dugout.
Chisenhall never reacted to the pitch, something a player would normally do if hit in the hand by a 95-mph fastball. Instead he sheepishly trotted down to first base.
Replays clearly showed the ball did not hit Chishenhall’s hand, but rather the knob of the bat. “There was nothing that told us that he was not hit by the pitch,” Girardi said after the Yankees lost 9-8 in 13 inning to fall behind two games in the best-of-five series. “By the time we got the super slow-mo, we are beyond a minute. It was too late. They tell us we have 30 seconds.”
Seriously. Why not challenge? If you win, it’s a strikeout and the inning is over. It’s an extremely low-risk, high-reward proposition. It’s already the sixth inning, and the Yankees had two challenges remaining. If the ruling on the field is overturned, the inning is over. If not, at least it was reviewed.
Instead play continued, and Francisco Lindor promptly hit a grand slam to get the Indians right back in the game.
Compounding the issue, Girardi later claimed he didn’t want to stop play and upset Green’s rhythm.
“I think about the rhythm and never want to take a pitcher out of rhythm and have them stand over there to tell me he wasn’t hit,” Girardi said.
Fess up Girardi, you messed up. Admit it and move on. That excuse might fly in some cities, but not in New York.
Ten years ago, almost to the day, the Yankees suffered a similar heartbreaking ALDS loss to the Indians in Cleveland. That night another Joe – Joe Torre – failed to ask for a stoppage of play when a swarm of midges appeared on the field as reliever Joba Chamberlain was trying to pitch.
Torre later admitted that he should have called time. That indecision eventually cost Torre his job. He was replaced by – you guessed it – Joe Girardi.
It doesn’t appear that Girardi will lose his job as a result of his non-challenge. But this promises to go down as one of the more boneheaded managerial decisions in Yankee postseason history.
Social media lit up after the game. Giradi’s legacy, along with the Yankees playoff aspirations, certainly took a hit last night.
You below it Clueless Joe, you blew it.