Joe Girardi has never been known to express the slightest bit of regret for poor mangerial decisions, but on Saturday afternoon, the Yankees’ skipper took the time to acknowledge his disastrous blunder which likely cost his team a Game 2 win in the ALDS.
“I screwed up,” Girardi told reporters.
With the Yankees ahead 8-3 over the Cleveland Indians in the sixth inning on Friday night, home plate umpire Dan Iassogna signaled that a Chad Green fastball grazed pinch-hitter Lonnie Chisenhall’s hands, resulting in a hit-by-pitch to load the bases up for Francisco Lindor, who ultimately hit a grand slam two pitches later to trim the Indians’ deficit to one.
After deliberation in the dugout, Girardi elected not to challange the play, on the basis that there was no conclusive evidence for the call to be overturned. Girardi’s reluctance to roll the dice turned out to be ruinous, as the Yankees ultimately lost the game, 9-8, in the 13th inning.
“In hindsight, yeah, I wish I would have challenged it,” Girardi said. “I mean, you can second-guess yourself. And yeah, I should have challenged it, now that I think about it. But here’s the thing. If it isn’t overturned and we’re wrong and then Chad struggles after that, do you feel like I screwed him up? You know, those are the things you have to go through.
“Obviously, I take responsibility for everything, and I feel horrible about it. Does it change the complexion of the game? Yeah, it sure could have. Do we know that for sure? No. But it’s frustrating.”
A slow-motion replay of the pitch suggests that Chisenhall wasn’t hit, and that the ball struck the knob of his bat and landed in the glove of catcher Gary Sanchez. According to Girardi, Yankees’ replay coordinator Brett Weber didn’t have the video that millions of viewers were watching in real time.
“[Weber] never got that video clip,” Girardi said. “He never got that super-slow-mo video clip, and he never got that angle. Brett has been so good at what he does that when he tells me something’s not inconclusive, I believe him.”
Although the Yankees didn’t have enough video evidence to make a ruling, Sanchez implored Girardi to make a move, as he told reporters after the game that he had heard the ball hit the bat. In the end, Girardi chose to ignore him.
“There are a lot of players that tell you to challenge things at times,” Girardi. “That’s the one thing we don’t’ get caught up in, when a player tells you to challenge something, because it’s not always the case. And Brett has the video of it and that’s what we go by.
“I know [Weber] feels bad, too. You know, we really care. Again, I take full responsibility. It’s not Brett’s fault. It’s my fault.”
Girardi also said that his decision to ignore Sanchez had nothing to do with a lack of trust in him.
“No, no, no. I mean, how many times have you seen a player say, check, check, check, and it ends up being the call that they called?
“Again, I screwed up, and it’s hard. It’s a hard day for me. But I have to move forward and we’ll be ready for [Sunday].”