Missed review opportunities and late-game blunders led to the New York Yankees coughing up an 8-3 lead against the Cleveland Indians.
- New York Yankees 8 (0-2)
- Cleveland Indians 9 (2-0)
- ALDS, Game 2, Final, 13 Innings, Box Score
- Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio
In classic Big Apple fashion, the manager (and the umpires) will be blamed to baseball’s high-heaven even though these Yanks had every opportunity to cash in on such a large lead and take the ALDS back to New York tied at one game apiece.
After CC Sabathia played the role of hero in the city that allowed him to get his career off the ground, one single play turned the fortunes for both clubs.
Lonnie Chisenhall foul tip that should have been called strike three. No challenge by Girardi, horrible call pic.twitter.com/H6025WqtVo
— Ideal Mkai (@Mkai__) October 7, 2017
As clear as day, the ball it the knob of the bat while deflecting into Gary Sanchez‘s glove.
Inning over. 8-3 lead preserved. That dominant Yanks bullpen did its job once again.
Instead, Chisenhall was awarded first base and beast Francisco Lindor trotted to the plate and smacked a monster grand-slam to make a dominant lead dwindle to just one run:
Francisco Lindor gets the Indians back in it! pic.twitter.com/zVPUZrXQZd
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 7, 2017
In unreal fashion, Girardi decided not to challenge the play. Although it appeared that he was annoyed he didn’t in the dugout, he provided his thoughts about the situation after the game:
— David Lang (@DukieLang) October 7, 2017
Was it Girardi’s fault D-Rob suddenly decided to give up an 8th-inning bomb? What happened to the best bullpen in baseball moniker the Yankees were so proud of? If the tagline were true, a missed non-review wouldn’t doom such a delicate bunch. Was it the manager’s fault Green suddenly surrendered a grand-slam after pitching so brilliantly two nights prior?
But then momentum churned again. It flipped. The bottom of the 11th brought a gift like any other. Todd Frazier hit a harmless roller to third that was fielded and airmailed by the Tribe’s Eric Gonzalez. Fan-favorite Ronald Torreyes pinch-ran for the local boy and suddenly the Bombers were set up with a man on second with no outs and the top of the order ready to make some hay.
In stunning and heartbreaking fashion, Torreyes was picked off:
— MLB Replay (@MLBReplays) October 7, 2017
Why couldn’t somebody, anybody pick up their fallen teammate who was so visibly upset in the dugout? Was it Girardi’s fault Torrreyes found himself picked off? Did the umps doom the Yanks in this specific situation?
No. A late-game blunder from a young team did them in here.
What’s worse than just playing the blame-game with the manager is when headlines pop up about Dellin Betances losing the game. During that fateful bottom of the 13th-inning, Betances allowed Austin Jackson to steal second and then trot home after Yan Gomes singled down the left-field line:
YAN GOMES WALK OFF + TOM HAMILTON + TITANIC MUSIC
DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES pic.twitter.com/snrXpJOZ9O
— Matt Allaire (@AllaireMatt) October 7, 2017
What the headline-makers won’t mention is how well he pitched the two innings prior. After Aroldis Chapman ran out of gas, Betances came in and provided the Yanks with two stellar perfect baseball innings.
But the idiocy in Yankees land continues. Just check out some of the stuff Twitter — the place where diehard sports fans don’t reside — have to say about one of the better managers in baseball and about how the Yanks were robbed in Game 2:
That was the most pathetic excuse Joe Girardi could have given. He singlehandedly cost the #Yankees the game.
— Delia Enriquez (@dfiregirl4) October 7, 2017
Single-handedly? Was it Girardi who gave up the bombs to both Lindor and Bruce?
Ronald Torreyes and Joe Girardi don’t deserve to go back to New York.
— The Yankee Fan (@YankeeLiveTweet) October 7, 2017
Ah yes, such a clever guy “The Yankees Fan” is.
If Joe Girardi were managing the U.S. he'd take out Pulisic.
— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) October 7, 2017
Nothing like a Knicks beat man chiming in with his own personal brand of wit.
joe girardi… a manager…. not a player, single handedly destroyed the yankees hopes in the postseason. pic.twitter.com/88zvFbfhTO
— @NYKTalk (@NYKTalk) October 7, 2017
Again, that “single-handedly” word is contagious.
If Joe Girardi is still managing the #Yankees next year I will be shocked, this is on him.
— Patrick Hennessy (@TrueHennessy) October 7, 2017
Here’s a kid who clearly didn’t witness the dynasty years. He actually might have been in diapers in 2009.
Imagine where we would be right now if Joe Girardi challenged that HBP call… #Yankees
— Patrick Hennessy (@TrueHennessy) October 7, 2017
Oh, yes … just “imagine.” Perhaps they would have lost 15-8. This is sports, kid! Anything can happen at any time.
— Scary Sanchez ? (@TheSanchino) October 7, 2017
What’s obvious about Twitter, other than the fact the true diehard fans can’t stand it and don’t dare venture to it, is that the classic “pile on” method is always used. Many times tonight, Yankees hitters found themselves in a huge spot only to be punched-out while looking at a called third strike.
Prior to and after Girardi, the umpiring was public enemy No. 2.
We have technology to eliminate the problem (and yes, it’s a problem) of human umpires missing huge calls. Why won’t we use it?
— The Yankee Fan (@YankeeLiveTweet) October 6, 2017
One of the best postseason baseball games in history was ruined by horrible umpires and terrible calls on both sides, a total disgrace
— Bdot (@brans234) October 7, 2017
When John Smoltz, a guy who hates the Yankees, is calling out the umpires for being terrible, you know it’s bad.
— Mike Nash (@MikeNash15) October 6, 2017
And of course, all of Yankees fandom couldn’t get enough of this play:
— Diagonal Sleeper! (@ImClipperMike) October 7, 2017
Those who watched the Yankee dynasty years would never dare get on the umpire for calls like Greg Bird‘s low-and-away punch out. There were two strikes. The pitch actually hit the corner of the plate on that silly automated strike zone MLB.com and all the other display these days.
I don’t know much about anything these days, but I do know this: batters must protect the plate against two strikes!
It’s a simple concept that has gone back centuries in baseball. Admittedly, this is a new day and age that sees the home run rule over building runs the traditional way, but is it Girardi’s fault none of his big bats could find a way to plate a run in eight innings of action? Studs like Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez melted in the big spot. Instead of fighting off pitches on 0-2 and 2-2, they continually prayed the ump wouldn’t ring them up.
Guys like Derek Jeter, Paul O’Neill and Bernie Wiliams wouldn’t pray in the batter’s box. What they would do is take it upon themselves to fight a count. They would build innings by working the pitch count and fouling off balls galore.
Yet, suddenly, it’s all the ump’s fault. Go ahead and look at those close low-and-away pitches. All of them are close. Not all are definte strikes, but they’re all too close to take.
The bottom line is pretty simple and clean-cut. Yes, Joe Girardi and his replay staff missed a big one. Even with his statements after the game (in not wanting to interrupt the rhythm of his pitcher), I believe he was somewhat attempting to get the back of his replay guys who got it wrong.
And yes, the umpires weren’t great in the game. The Didi Gregorius check-swing was a prime example.
Knowing this still doesn’t mean both issues are the reasons the Yanks lost this game.
They melted. Green didn’t have to give up a grand slam. D-Rob could have handed Chappy the ball with a one-run lead. Torreyes could have gotten over to third on a Brett Gardner sacrifice.
Don’t allow “single-handedly” to run amuck.
It was a bad night for the New York Yankees. A crushing blow in their upset bid over a tremendous club.
What’s terrific about sports is this thing is still far from over. Those who hate Twitter, the people who spew garbage on it and respect history all at the same time understand just that.
It’s time to look in the mirror, get better and get back at it on Sunday night in the Bronx.