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Three reasons Yankees Game 2 loss falls on manager Joe Girardi

A non-challenge by Girardi cost Yankees in Game 2 loss.

The New York Yankees had a chance to tie the American League Division at one game a piece with the Cleveland Indians. The Yankees got to Cy Young Award favorite Corey Kluber early, knocking him from that game with two outs in the third inning. At that time, the Yankees had a 6-3 lead.

The Indians fought back and the game went well into extra innings before Cleveland won it on a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 13th.

This loss has to fall on Yankees manager Joe Girardi. There were plenty of moves and non-moves that Girardi made that cost the Yankees the game. Cleveland topped the Yankees with a walk-off base-hit in the 13th inning. The final score was 9-8 and the Indians have a 2-0 series lead.

Removing CC Sabathia in the sixth inning

Yes, the Yankees have the best bullpen in baseball and Girardi planned to ride them as far as possible in the playoffs. However, when your starting pitching has a decently comfortable lead and is pitching well, you don’t need to take him out. Chad Green, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle all pitched multiple innings in the Wild Card game on Tuesday. They had a couple days rest heading into tonight, but after throwing the unusual length earlier this week, trying once again to stretch them out was not the smart move, especially when it was not necessarily needed.

Girardi removed Sabathia from the game with a lead and one out in the fifth. At that point, he had thrown just 77 pitches. The veteran lefty has much more in the tank than just 77 pitches. If you are not going to trust the guy, why have him pitch Game 2 in the ALDS. Over-thinking never ends well, and it didn’t Friday night for Girardi and the Yankees.

Not calling for review on hit batter

Still in the sixth, with Chad Green on the mound in relief of Sabathia, Girardi made probably the most regrettable decision of the season. With two out and two runners on base, home plate umpire Dan Iassongna said Lonnie Chisenhall was hit by a pitch from Green to load the bases. Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez immediately jumped up saying no, that the ball had hit the bat for a foul ball. Replays showed that indeed was the case. Sanchez had caught the ball, so had Girardi called for the replay review, it would have been ruled an out and the inning would have ended.

Instead, Girardi did not call for the review and the next batter, Francisco Lindor, took Green deep for a grand slam, cutting the Yankees lead to 8-7. The excuse Girardi gave in his post-game press conference was the Yankees did not get the replay within the 30 seconds they are allowed to call for a review. Come one!

Your catcher immediately jumps up telling you the pitch hit the bat. The batter never makes any type of reaction that would make you believe he was hit. The game is already in the sixth inning. You have to challenge that call, regardless of your clubhouse receiving the slow motion replay or not. That’s a terrible job by Girardi to not listen to his catcher. He also said he did not want to disrupt the rhythm of his pitcher without knowing for sure. That is another ridiculous excuse. The pitchers rhythm is already disrupted while the batter goes to first and you take the allowed 30 seconds to consider a challenge.

Admit it Joe, you blew it!

Not removing Dellin Betances with a runner on in 13th

This game does not fall on the shoulders of Dellin Betances, despite receiving the loss. Betances has pitched very well at the end of the season and so far in the playoffs. Friday night, Betances was great through the first two innings and Girardi put him out for a third. The longest outing of Betances’ career is 2.1 innings. Considering he got through two innings without throwing many pitches, the problem isn’t having him out there for a third.

However, after Betances walked Austin Jackson, Girardi should have removed him from the game. Jackson has speed and as soon as he walked, you knew Indians manager Terry Francona would attempt to make something happen. Betances has one of the slowest deliveries to home in all of baseball. Leaving Betances in the game, was basically giving Jackson an automatic stolen base. He did steal second to get into scoring position. After the steal, Yan Gomes hit a ball down the third base line, past third baseman Ronald Torreyes and into the corner, scoring Jackson with the game-winning run.

I understand that Betances is a better pitcher than the remaining options in the bullpen, but knowing his delivery, you can not leave him in the game at that point. Adam Warren and Jordan Montgomery were both warming up and ready in the bullpen.

The Yankees now find themselves on the brink of elimination and return to New York for Game 3 at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. Masahiro Tanaka is scheduled to start the game for New York.

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