“#Joe Girardi ’s mystifying ‘low ’ point as Yankees manager”
June 8, 2020 | 9:44am
The 2017 Yankees were back in the ALDS for the first time in five years. The up-and-coming roster — led by rookie Aaron Judge — was on track to tie the series in Cleveland, leading 8-3 in the sixth inning of Game 2. With two outs and an 0-2 count, reliever Chad Green was ruled to have hit Lonnie Chisenhall in the hand with a pitch, loading the bases. Instant replay showed the ball hitting the knob of Chisenhall ’s bat, before finding Gary Sanchez ’s glove.
Girardi had 30 seconds to issue a challenge. He ’d successfully used one earlier in the game. He inexplicably opted not to use another during a clear potential turning point.
“There was nothing that told us that he was not hit on the pitch,” Girardi said afterward. “By the time we got the super slo-mo, we are beyond a minute. It was way too late.”
The decision proved disastrous one batter later, when All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor delivered a grand slam to bring the Indians within one. Jay Bruce tied the game with a solo homer in the eighth and Cleveland claimed a 9-8 win — and 2-0 series lead — after Yan Gomes ’ walk-off single in the 13th.
Joe GirardiRobert Sabo
It wasn ’t until the next day that Girardi accepted responsibility.
“I screwed up,” Girardi said. “It ’s a hard day for me, but I ’ve got to move forward…..I feel horrible. Does it change the complexion of the game? Sure, it could have. … It ’s a tough loss, a tough situation.”
The Yankees improbably won the following three games, including a deciding Game 5 in Cleveland, to get Girardi off the hook.
“I was about as low as I could be as a baseball (person),” Girardi said after advancing to the ALCS. “I ’ve been carrying this burden for five or six days. It ’s hard….What those guys did for me, I ’ll never forget it.”
The Yankees then fell one win shy of the World Series, losing to the eventual — and now-tainted — champion Astros. Five days after being eliminated from the playoffs, the Yankees announced Girardi would not return after 10 seasons as manager.
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