During this 2017 season, the Yankees have had some crushing defeats. None so crushing as last night’s 13-inning, 9-8 loss to the Indians that has them on the brink of elimination.
This game was a microcosm of the season as questionable managerial decisions, blown leads, bad base running and men left on base all came back to haunt the Yankees and crush their hopes of going back to NY with the series tied at one game apiece.
There is a lot to breakdown but the key moment of the game was in the sixth inning. The Yankees led 8-3. The Indians had two men on and two out when reliever Chad Green, who had replaced a “hot arm” in C.C. Sabathia, was ruled to have hit pinch-hitter Lonnie Chisenhall, (That was the first blunder by Girardi. The veteran left hander had retired 12 of 13 batters and had a runner on first and one out with a five-run lead)
The replay showed that the ball hit the knob of the bat but Girardi refused the challenge. Big mistake.The Yankees never challenged. (Girardi reportedly told the umps they would not challenge) Chisenhall took first and Francisco Lindor put the Indians right back in the game with a grand slam home run off of Green. The replay appeared to show that the ball struck Chisenhall’s bat and nestled in catcher Gary Sanchez’ glove. If the call was overturned, it was inning over and the five run lead would’ve remained.
After the game, Girardi said, “by the time we got the “super slo-mo” we were a minute, probably beyond a minute, it was way too late.” Not a good reason to totally dismiss a challenge that should have been made, with or without video evidence. The situation dictated that.
This next response was even worse. Girardi said, “I never want to break a pitcher’s rhythm.” He went on to add, “being the catcher that I am, I think about rhythm for the pitcher and not taking him out of rhythm.” A contradictory response to say the least. If he was worried about upsetting a pitcher’s rhythm, why did he lift Sabathia who was certainly in rhythm.
The managerial mess up was not the only thing that cost this game. Most of the Yankees flaws that they experienced during the season came back to haunt in this one.
They were there on display. Blowing a substantial lead, bad base running and a number of men left on base, just to name a few.
The bullpen failed Girardi last night, that was obvious, but the manager seems to have a lack of feel for the in-game decisions. Girardi has taken pitchers out (see: or CC Sabathia) when they’re going good; he’s rested everyday players when they’re on hot streaks and during his watch, the Yankees have been brutal on the base paths.
Ronald Torreyes’ blunder on the bases was not an isolated incident. It has happened many times before during the regular season. (how many times this season has Brett Gardner tried to go from second to third on a ball hit to the shortstop) In my nysportsday.com column of September 13th, I wrote this, “When they have run, the Yankees have made a number of mistakes on the base paths and have run themselves out of innings with poor decisions.”
Numbers wise, the Yankees left only seven men on base in 13 innings but they had chances to put this one in the win column. 4 of those 7 were left on in the final five innings.
In the ninth, the Yankees had the potential go ahead run at second with one out and couldn’t get him home. In the tenth, they had two on and two out and Chase Headley grounded out to end the threat.
Torreyes’ mistake killed the 11th inning as Judge walked with two out and was left stranded.
The series isn’t over but it sure feels like it. The Yankees had a chance to really put the squeeze on the Indians. Now they may be squeezed right out of their season.