After the game two debacle, New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi may have managed his way out of a job.
After failing to get across the board in Game 1 of the American League division series against Cleveland Indians starter Trevor Bauer, the New York Yankees pounced on the potential AL CY Young winner Corey Kluber, tacking on six runs by the 3rd inning thanks to a 1st inning 2 run home run by Gary Sanchez, a single in the 3rd by Starlin Castro and a 3 run home run by Aaron Hicks.
Once the leading Cy Young candidate was knocked out of the game the Yankees followed up with a two run shot by Greg Bird off Mike Clevinger in the 5th inning to provide security, leading the Indians 8 to 3. Entering game 2 Yankees starter CC Sabathia was an astonishing 9-0 in 11 starts following a Yankees loss. Unfortunately, that streak came to an end despite a methodical performance against the Indians juggernaut offense.
Sabathia provided the Yankees with everything they needed, stifling the Indians powerful offense over 5.1 innings, allowing only two earned runs, three hits, and five strikeouts with 77 pitches thrown. Whenever a starter is doing well enough to stay in the game, it’s not rocket science, you keep him in. There was no imminent damage that caused Joe Girardi to give Sabathia the hook and ruin another masterful playoff performance that would have been added to his already illustrious career.
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The momentum and the game were ultimately given away when Girardi called to the bullpen to bring in reliever Chad Green. Despite Green’s stellar numbers throughout the season, there is a time where you have to allow your starters to do their job and try to prevent having to go to the bullpen at least not until the end of the 6th if not the beginning of the 7th inning.
After allowing runners to reach 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs, the momentum shifter of the game occurred when an inside fastball looked as if it hit Indians outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall. Multiple replays and a fiery response by Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez proved that the pitch ultimately hit the knob of the bat. With an opportunity to save the Yankees season and an incredible overall team performance, Girardi decides not to challenge the call and the rest is history.
All-star shortstop Francisco Lindor comes up and hits a grand slam home run which put the Indians in the driver’s seat to make a comeback. Jay Bruce hits a solo home run off David Roberston to tie the game in the 8th and a boneheaded play by Ronald Torreyes in extra innings ultimately sealed the Yankees fate, resulting in extra innings win by the Indians in 13 innings.
When asked the following day about the bang-bang play and why he didn’t challenge the call, Girardi often at times looked pensive, wishing to avoid the question but eventually answering, “I screwed up. It’s hard. It’s hard a hard day for me. But I’ve got to move forward and we’ll be ready to go tomorrow.” Saying you screwed up a day later is unacceptable, thinking that it’s okay to throw away games that should be won is unacceptable.
Beating up on the best if not the 2nd best pitcher in the league and losing a game that was won in a surmountable fashion is unacceptable. And if Brian Cashman and the Steinbrenner’s allow Joe Girardi to continue to squander the fate of this young team full of drive and passion with the potential to put a 28th Championship banner in Yankee Stadium, well then that’ll be unacceptable too. It may be time to start looking for replacement’s if the Yankees lose tonight in a win or go home game at Yankee Stadium because, after a season in which the Yankees proved doubter’s wrong and had the opportunity to knock off the vaunted Cleveland Indians, at this point, that’s the only thing that’ll be acceptable.