Cleveland vs. New York
What: Game 3
When: 7:38 p.m. today
Where: Yankee Stadium, New York
Series: Indians lead 2-0
NEW YORK – After a crushing loss, Yankees manager Joe Girardi spent the night pondering his decision not to challenge a critical hit-by-pitch call during a game-changing sixth inning.
“I screwed up.”
Girardi took the blame Saturday after his call not to challenge possibly shifted the complexion of New York's 9-8, 13-inning defeat in Game 2 of an AL Division Series against Cleveland.
“I take responsibility for everything,” Girardi said during a day off. “And I feel horrible about it.”
New York trails 2-0 in the best-of-five series. Game 3 is tonight at Yankee Stadium.
With New York ahead 8-3 Friday, Cleveland's Lonnie Chisenhall was awarded first by plate umpire Dan Iassogna on an inside pitch by reliever Chad Green.
Catcher Gary Sanchez immediately asked Girardi to challenge, and slow-motion replays showed that the ball hit the knob of Chisenhall's bat. The question was whether it first grazed Chisenhall's hand.
Plate umpires often rely on sound more than sight on such plays, making calls based on what they hear. To get the ruling reversed, an umpire in the replay room would've needed definitive proof the ball completely missed Chisenhall's hand. Sanchez caught the 0-2 pitch, which would have been an inning-ending third strike if ruled a foul tip.
Girardi relies on coaching assistant Brett Weber to scour replays before challenging. Weber didn't see anything conclusive in the 30-second window allotted to request a review, and so Girardi disregarded Sanchez's plea and didn't challenge.
Weber and the Yankees didn't get the slo-mo replay until Francisco Lindor was already at-bat. Lindor hit a grand slam off Green to make it 8-7, sparking a dramatic comeback.
New York led the majors by winning 72 percent of their challenges in the regular season. Girardi said he didn't want to waste one of his two challenges and didn't want to disrupt Green's rhythm. The Yankees had already won one earlier in the game.
But if he could do it over?
“Yeah, I wish I would have challenged it,” he said. “Very seldom have I ever wasted a challenge when it wasn't conclusive. That's just what I've done, you know. Maybe that's the wrong way.”
Girardi defended his call to disregard Sanchez.
“It has nothing to do with me trusting a player,” Girardi said. “It's having video evidence to make sure the call will be overturned before you use it.”
The 10th-year Yankees manager also stood by his bullpen management. Girardi pulled starter CC Sabathia after just 77 pitches to get to Green in. He said he's relied on the same “formula” for his relievers the last few months.
“I used the formula the other day. It worked,” Girardi said. “I used it yesterday, it didn't work. That's part of my job, right?”