In a different time, Joe Girardi would not have survived this game.
In fact, 10 years-ago, facing the same franchise and a similar type of game, Joe Torre paid for the loss with his job.
George Steinbrenner was still in charge then and still calling the shots, but the Joba Chamberlain game and a loss in four games, was enough for The Boss to see. In Game 4, an appreciative crowd was chanting Torre’s name, knowing he was going to the ax.
This is a different time and the franchise is now run by his son Hal, who takes a more patient tone.
But if this the 9-8 Indians win in 13 innings isn’t enough to remove Girardi from power, then maybe nothing will.
Not only did the manager remove CC Sabathia too soon in the game – after 5.1 inning and 77 pitches and with an 8-3 lead, he took too long challenge a key hit by pitch call in the sixth, leading to Francisco Lindor’s Grand Slam.
It was enough to get the Indians back in the game and a Jay Bruce homer later, the game was tied.
Mistakes happen, but Girardi was a bit defiant in his explanation.
“Being the catcher I am, I think about rhythm for the pitcher and not taking him out of his rhythm,” he said and you have to wonder if the chance to get out of the inning, since the ball hit the knob and caught by catcher Gary Sanchez, is more important than making Chad Green feel good.
Now, the series isn’t over and the Yankees could win three in a row, but it’s highly unlikely. And if the Yankees go home by Monday, the Yankees need to take a serious look if Girardi is the man for the job.
In a past era, he would have been gone years ago. George Steinbrenner would have made the change for change sake, but now, keeping Girardi in the dugout, is business as usual.
This was Girardi’s 10th season as Yankees manager and besides 2009, when he won the World Series after the club signed A.J. Burnett, Mark Teixeira, Sabathia and has an interested Alex Rodriguez playing in October, Girardi presided over two ALCS losses (2010 and 2012) and ALDS loss (2011) and a Wild Card loss (2015).
And now you probably can add 2017 to the list.
You have to think 2009 was the aberration and the other seasons more of the norm you get from Girardi.
In fact, if 2009 didn’t happen, he would have been gone a long time ago.
Only four managers have longer tenures in the Yankee dugout than Girardi: Miller Huggins, Joe McCarthy, Casey Stengel and Joe Torre. They have 21 World Series between them and all four as in the Hall of Fame.
When you think of Girardi do you think of him with those four hallowed names? Probably not.
Instead, he just keeps plodding along and if he stays two more years with no title series appearances, it will become the first decade since the 1910s the Yankees didn’t enjoy going to one World Series.
It’s not the type of legacy the Yankees want.
George Steinbrenner had to fire Buck Showalter to get the then young Yankees to the next level by bringing in Torre.
You need to wonder if this new Yankee core will get to the next level with Girardi at the helm. After a game like this one, maybe it’s time for Hal Steinbrenner to re-evaluate.
The season may be over Sunday. The Yankees will have plenty of time to think about it.