New York Yankees Game 2 Nightmare Isn't All on Joe Girardi, Umpires (Highlights)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 06: Joe Girardi #28 of the New York Yankees argues a call in the tenth inning against the Cleveland Indians during game two of the American League Division Series at Progressive Field on October 6, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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
When Monday comes in the big city, get ready for the Joe Girardi show. Via the tabloids and airwaves, fans of the New York Yankees will be crushing their manager for what transpired in Game 2 of the ALDS.

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.

Wild Card Game hero Chad Green faced Lonnie Chisenhall with two outs and two on. An up-and-in pitch hit Chisenhall. Or did it?

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:

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:

The lead remained 8-7 until Jay Bruce got to David Robertson in the top of the 8th-inning for yet another homer by the former New York Mets right fielder.


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:

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:

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:

Single-handedly? Was it Girardi who gave up the bombs to both Lindor and Bruce?

Ah yes, such a clever guy “The Yankees Fan” is.

Nothing like a Knicks beat man chiming in with his own personal brand of wit.

Again, that “single-handedly” word is contagious.

Here’s a kid who clearly didn’t witness the dynasty years. He actually might have been in diapers in 2009.

Oh, yes … just “imagine.” Perhaps they would have lost 15-8. This is sports, kid! Anything can happen at any time.

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.

And of course, all of Yankees fandom couldn’t get enough of this play:

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 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.

Robby Sabo is a co-founder, CEO and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor - Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet and Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. SEO: XL Media. Founder: Elite Sports NY - ESNY (Sold in 2020). SEO: XL Media. Email: robby.sabo[at]