Cueing the unpopular opinion: While the New York Yankees and fans are reeling from last night’s loss, it can’t take away the good Joe Girardi has done.
This entire season for the New York Yankees has been a roller coaster ride. First they were projected to do nothing. Then they did everything. Then they fought for a playoff spot and won the Wild Card game.
And here we are, digesting last night’s Game 2 loss against the Cleveland Indians and heading to the Bronx down 0-2, on the brink of elimination.
And it all has to do with Joe Girardi and the mind-boggling decisions he made last night.
He missed the boat on challenging a hit by pitch which directly led to a grand slam from the red-hot Francisco Lindor. He pulled CC Sabathia after five sparkling innings and only 77 pitches. He made a lot of managerial mistakes that cost them a crucial game.
But at the same time, as we mentioned before, it wasn’t all his fault. Chad Green gave up the grand slam. David Robertson gave Jay Bruce the perfect pitch to hit. Ronald Torreyes squelched a rally by straying too far off of second.
The list goes on and on.
It was devastating. It was painful to watch. It was beyond frustrating for those of us who were sitting in the comforts of our homes, watching on big screen televisions with pixelated high definition, insisting that we can do better.
And while this morning, the hatred spewed towards Joe Girardi continues, I’m going to make a comment that none of you want to hear. And many of you won’t like it.
No matter what happened yesterday, that one game should not taint Girardi’s performance as a manager for his career.
There. I said it. Yes, he mismanaged to a degree where the Yankees blew a five-run lead on the road. However, the hatred comes from one non-challenge
In his career, Girardi has been impressive, for both the Yankees and his time with the Marlins. He is a true player’s manager, who has taken young teams and shot them up into stardom. He did it with the Marlins his first year and exceeded all expectations with the Yankees this year.
As a manager, your decisions are going to be in the spotlight all the time. It just so happens that this was on the biggest stage with only eight teams left in the playoffs.
Joe Girardi: “I take responsibility for everything, and I feel horrible about it.”
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) October 7, 2017
What are the odds that Lindor would crush a grand slam in his next at-bat? In his career, he is a .220 hitter with the bases loaded. He was also 0-for-2 entering that at-bat against Sabathia.
Yes, Girardi should have challenged that. But nobody had any way of knowing that Lindor would do that. There have been many a time that managers have failed to challenge and nothing happened as a result. However, this was the one time where something did happen. And it hurt.
We’re all hurt, but Girardi has to be the most hurt. He missed his opportunity to give the Yankees their first victory in the series. It was a momentum-killer and Girardi knows that. And while this moment will be on his resume for the rest of his life, it does nothing to discount that Girardi was the main reason the Yankees made it to the playoffs in the first place.
Remember everyone was praising his mastery that got the Yankees through the Wild Card game? Or throughout the season, how he utilized Green and Adam Warren perfectly, turning them into furious weapons out of the ‘pen?
This loss will sit with everyone for a long time, probably with Girardi the longest. While it will hurt until likely the next time the Yankees win a World Series, we can’t lose faith in the guy who ultimately brought this young team into the playoffs.
Take it one game a time. Tomorrow night will be a new game in their own stadium. And as much as you want to boo Girardi, just remember how far he brought everyone. That mistake looms costly but he’s still our faithful manager until his contract expires.