Girardi wishes he'd challenged crucial HBP

'It's a hard day for me,' says Yankees skipper in accepting responsibility

Girardi wishes he'd challenged crucial HBP

NEW YORK -- If Joe Girardi could revisit the sixth inning of Friday's Game 2 of the American League Division Series presented by Doosan, rolling back time to the precise moment when the knob of Lonnie Chisenhall's bat was plunked by a Chad Green fastball, the Yankees manager now wishes he had issued a challenge.

That will not happen, of course, and the Yankees will have to accept the 9-8, 13-inning loss to the Indians at Progressive Field. Immediately after Cleveland took a 2-0 series lead, Girardi said the Yankees had not received a super slow-motion replay in time to challenge and that he had not wanted to disrupt Green's rhythm. He expressed regret for that decision on Saturday.

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"I screwed up. And it's hard," Girardi said. "It's a hard day for me. But [I've] got to move forward and we'll be ready to go [tonight]."

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

Had Girardi challenged the hit-by-pitch on Chisenhall, a replay official likely would have determined that the ball had been a foul tip, overturning the call on the field. Because it was hit sharply and directly into catcher Gary Sanchez's glove, the play would have been an inning-ending strikeout.

Instead, the bases were loaded and Francisco Lindor hit Green's second pitch off the right-field foul pole, trimming what had been an 8-3 Yankees lead to a single run.

"Greeny had had success against Lindor, and that's why I left him in there," Girardi said.

In the eighth inning, Jay Bruce hit a game-tying homer off David Robertson, and neither team scored again until Cleveland's Yan Gomes lined a run-scoring single off Dellin Betances in the 13th inning.

"Obviously, I take responsibility for everything, and I feel horrible about it," Girardi said.

Girardi said the non-challenge was not indicative of a lack of trust in Sanchez, who immediately signaled to the dugout for a review, nor did he believe replay coordinator Brett Weber to be at fault.

"I know [Weber] feels really bad, too," Girardi said. "You know, we really care. Again, I take full responsibility. It's not Brett's fault. It's my fault."

Chisenhall reaches on HBP

Weber's initial read was that the ball had changed directions and there was nothing to say it had not hit Chisenhall's hand. With Weber in charge, the Yankees' 75 percent success rate on replay challenges was the highest in the Majors this season.

"When he tells me that something's not conclusive, I believe him, because he's been so good," Girardi said. "Now, knowing that I had two challenges, in hindsight, yeah, I wish I would have challenged it. But he never got that angle. He never got that super slow-mo. And, yeah, I should have challenged it, now that I think about it."

The non-challenge was not the only decision by Girardi in that sixth inning now being questioned. He lifted starter CC Sabathia after just 77 pitches, with the lefty having retired 12 of 13 batters and facing the bottom of Cleveland's order.

"I looked at it in the scenario, we needed two more outs in the sixth inning, right?" Girardi said. "I knew at some point he was possibly going to use Chisenhall. So I knew he had three right-handers in a row. He could only pinch-hit for one of them, so I looked at that, saying that Green was going to get two right-handers for sure, at some point. And that's what I looked at.

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"Now, if I wait one more hitter, the guy makes an out, maybe do I leave CC in still? Maybe. If he gets a hit, then it's maybe only one hitter that he sees that's right-handed and there are two outs to get."

Girardi also stuck with Green after he could not put away Gomes. After getting ahead 0-2, he threw a ball, then Gomes fouled off three pitches before banging a loud double off the left-field wall.

"I felt I kind of used the formula I had been using the last two or three months -- and last night, it doesn't work," Girardi said. "So I take responsibility for that. I mean, that's just who I am, and I did it as a player. And whenever we lose, I take it hard, and this one was really hard."

The contest took place 10 years and one day after what Joe Torre would later call his greatest regret in a Major League dugout, which happened to take place on the same patch of turf. In Game 2 of the 2007 ALDS at what was then called Jacobs Field, Torre believed he should have pulled the Yankees off the field when a swarm of Lake Erie midges enveloped pitcher Joba Chamberlain.

The Yankees lost that game and the series, marking Torre's final tour as the team's manager. With the Yankees facing a potential elimination in tonight's Game 3, Girardi said he expects the outcome of this ALDS to determine how the non-challenge is remembered in franchise lore.

"Let's just see what happens [tonight] and as we move forward," Girardi said. "That will probably determine the severity of it."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for 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.