The Yankees lost a thriller to the Indians in extra innings, but it may not have gotten to that point if manager Joe Girardi challenged a questionable hit by pitch call on the Indians' Lonnie Chisenhall.
With an 0-2 count and runners on second and third, Chisenhall appeared to take a Chad Green fastball off the hand to load the bases. However, upon further review, it showed that the ball hit the knob of the bat. Girardi didn't challenge the play, and it cost him as Francisco Lindor hit a grand slam to bring the Indians within one run when the Yankees had a five-run lead in the sixth.
After the game, Girardi explained that he didn't have sufficient evidence to challenge the call on the field.
"There was nothing that told us that he was not hit on the pitch," Girardi said after the loss. "By the time we got the super slo-mo, we were a minute, probably beyond a minute. It was way too late, ya know. They tell us we have 30 seconds. They will take longer in replay, and probably being a catcher, my thought is 'I never want to break a pitcher's rhythm.' That's how I think about it...there was nothing that said he was not hit."
Girardi reiterated not taking the pitcher out of his rhythm when asked about Gary Sanchez motioning to the dugout to challenge the play.
'I don't know," Girardi said about why he didn't have the super slow-mo replay available. "I'm not really sure why it happens. It's usually the last replay, and you're at the mercy of the telecast what replays you get."
The Yankees coaches were alerted of Chisenhall not being hit by the pitch while Lindor was at the plate. Girardi admits it was hard to swallow.
"It's when Lindor is coming up to bat, in a sense, that were alerted," Girardi explained, "and it's frustrating because if he calls that he's not hit, then nothing ever happens. Maybe they [Indians] replay it, I don't know."
During his postgame interview, Girardi was reminded of an earlier game where the Yankees couldn't challenge based on the replay evidence they had at the time. When the super slow-mo came in -- much like this instance -- it showed Girardi should have challenged the call. He hopes that is something to correct in the future.
"Yeah, you hope that the super slow-mo, you get it within the 30 seconds, but sometimes you don't get it for like a minute," Girardi said. "It's something I guess we can talk about moving forward."
In 2017, Joe Girardi was MLB's best manager when it came to deciding when to use video replay challenges. In a huge postseason game with both challenges available to him, he failed to ask for a review on Chisenhall's hit by pitch.
Upon review, it was clearly a foul tip, which would have ended the sixth inning with the same five-run lead it began with. Instead, Francisco Lindor immediately followed with a grand slam and the life came out of the Yankees and invigorated Progressive Field.
The decision was ridiculous as Girardi had nothing to lose and everything to gain by having the play reviewed. At worst, the play stands and he still has a challenge for the final three innings. At best, the Yankees are out of the inning still holding a commanding five-run lead.
"There was nothing that told us that he was not hit on the pitch," Girardi said. Except his catcher, Gary Sanchez, who instantly and emphatically signaled to the dugout to get a review. Girardi declined to listen to the one player who had the best view and ear to distinguish if the ball hit flesh or the bat.
Another thing that should have told Girardi that Chisenhall was not hit was the fact that there was no reaction when it happened. When batters are hit in the hand they typically instantly drop their bats and grab the hand or shake it off. Chisenhall didn't nothing of the sort.
Girardi further tried to explain away his misstep by suggesting he did not want to disrupt the rhythm of his pitcher for no reason if the replay turned up empty. I do not understand that line of thinking, when replays have been engrained in the players at this point.
Girardi used to get the benefit of the doubt from me. However, this season he has had made more poor decisions than in any during his tenure with the club. This singular no-decision will be long discussed as the one that may cost the Yankees a shot at vying for the 2017 American League Pennant.