Yankee skipper addresses challenging loss

Yankee skipper addresses challenging loss

CLEVELAND -- From his crouch behind home plate, Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez said he heard what dozens of video replays would soon confirm: Indians pinch-hitter Lonnie Chisenhall's bat was struck by Chad Green's sixth-inning fastball, which could have changed the on-field ruling of a hit-by-pitch to an inning-ending foul-tip strikeout.

Sanchez said that he yelled, "Foul! Foul, maybe!" to home-plate umpire Dan Iassogna and then toward his dugout, but manager Joe Girardi said the Yankees did not receive the slow-motion video in time to challenge the call. Two pitches later, Francisco Lindor's grand slam changed the course of the Indians' 9-8 victory in 13 innings over the Yanks on Friday night in Game 2 of the American League Division Series presented by Doosan.

Game Date Results Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 5 CLE 4, NYY 0 Watch
Gm 2 Oct. 6 CLE 9, NYY 8 (13) Watch
Gm 3 Oct. 8 NYY 1, CLE 0 Watch
Gm 4 Oct. 9 NYY 7, CLE 3 Watch
Gm 5 Oct. 11 NYY 5, CLE 2 Watch

"There was nothing that told us that he was not hit on the pitch," Girardi said. "By the time we got the super slow-mo, we are beyond a minute. They tell us we have the 30 seconds. They will take longer in replay. And probably being a catcher, my thought is that I never want to break a pitcher's rhythm. That's how I think about it."

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Girardi and the Yankees may always wonder how Game 2 might have concluded had Chisenhall been erased by the strikeout. Lindor would not have launched Green's 1-0 slider off the right-field foul pole, cutting the Indians' deficit to one run, and Jay Bruce wouldn't have cracked a tying homer in eighth inning off a heavily taxed David Robertson, who had thrown a career-high 52 pitches in the AL Wild Card Game on Tuesday.

"I thought they threw pretty well," Girardi said. "Robertson went through an inning-and-a-third and was pretty good. Jay Bruce hurt us this whole series, and he hurt us again tonight."

The Yanks had two challenges remaining, having won their first-inning review of a play involving Edwin Encarnacion. Girardi was asked why he did not burn one of the challenges, being that it was already the sixth inning.

Breaking down Girardi's choice

"In hindsight, yes, I could," Girardi said. "But as I said earlier, being a catcher, I think about rhythm. And I never want to take a pitcher out of rhythm and have them stand over there [for] two minutes to tell me that he wasn't hit."

Sanchez wasn't the only Yankees player who tried to push for a review. Watching from the bench, Chase Headley said that he immediately yelled that the pitch hadn't hit the batter, noting that Chisenhall didn't react.

"I'm not the umpire. You don't try to sell anything," Chisenhall said. "You don't try to play anything off. You just run over to first."

But that wasn't the message that Girardi heard from video coordinator Brett Weber, however.

Chisenhall reaches on HBP

"Now everybody is like, 'We should have done something different,' but in the heat of the moment, those types of things can happen," Headley said. "I think when you get word that the call was right, why would you challenge it? That's how I look at it. I think our guy does as good a job as anyone has in the league. I think Joe trusts him. Unfortunately, it just happened at a really bad time."

It was an inning in which Girardi's maneuvers prompted several questions. After retiring 11 in a row, starter CC Sabathia issued a leadoff walk to Carlos Santana, then retired Bruce on a lineout to shortstop Didi Gregorius. Sabathia had thrown just 77 pitches over 5 1/3 frames and still appeared to have plenty left in the tank after setting down 12 out of the past 13 Indians and holding the Tribe to three hits overall, but Girardi turned the game over to the bullpen.

"It's kind of what we've done all year with Green," Girardi said. "It was set up for Green to come in, and I decided to go. Usually, we give CC somewhere around 90 pitches. I think he was at 80, and it was set up for our bullpen. I went there, and it didn't work."

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After Green got Austin Jackson to fly out, Green got ahead of Yan Gomes, 0-2, but he could not put Gomes away, throwing five more pitches -- the last of which was pelted off the left-field wall for a double.

With Robertson warming, Girardi again visited the mound, but he said he elected to stay with Green because the right-hander had enjoyed previous success against Lindor (0-for-2, two walks). Green engaged Chisenhall in a seven-pitch at-bat, the last of which was the 95.7 mph heater that buzzed inside.

Chisenhall on HBP, momentum

"I definitely heard something," Sanchez said through an interpreter. "I wasn't sure if it hit the bat. I didn't think it hit him, because he never reacted to that. He stood still there."

Lindor's clutch grand slam

Girardi said it wasn't until Lindor was walking to home plate that the Yanks were alerted about what the slow-motion replay had revealed. By then, Girardi had told the umpiring crew that he would not challenge.

"It's frustrating, you know, because if he calls that he's not hit, then nothing ever happens," Girardi said. "And maybe they replay it, I don't know. But he made no signal that he was hit.

Girardi on loss, not challenging

"The umpire thought he was hit. I know Gary said it. We looked at it. We had no super slow-mo at that time. Again, I'm going to reiterate, I think about keeping a pitcher in rhythm. Maybe I'll think different now."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.