In what surprised almost every fan of baseball, the New York Yankees slammed Corey Kluber the ace of the Cleveland Indians pitching staff for six runs over just 2 2/3 innings during Game 2 Friday night of the American League Division Series.
Both Aaron Hicks and Gary Sanchez homered off Kluber, and New York entered the six inning leading 8-3, when the wheels came off. With Chad Green having problems on the mound, Cleveland hitter Lonnie Chisenhall took a fastball to the hands that loaded the bases for the Indians with a pair of outs.
Sanchez immediately said the ball had hit the knob of Chisenhall’s bat. Usually a fastball off the hands is painful, but Chisenhall did not express any anguish.
The ball hit the bat and was caught by Sanchez which would have made three outs and the inning over with the Indians stranding a pair of runners and the Yankees leading 8-3.
However, it was called by the plate umpire as a hit-by-pitch and they are reviewable. Had manage Joe Girardi requested a review of the hit-by-pitch it most likely would have been overturned and called strike three on a foul tip into the catcher’s mitt.
Instead, the call was never reviewed by the Yankees and then the unbelievable took place.
Francisco Lindor came to the plate. If the review had been made, Lindor likely would have led off the seventh, but instead came to bat with the based loaded and sent a pitch over the fence for a grand slam cutting a five-run lead to just 1 with momentum all in the hands of the Indians.
In the eighth, a home run by Jay Bruce tied the score and Yan Gomes hit a single during the 13th inning knocking in the winning run for the Indians, giving them a 2-0 lead in the series.
Girardi said that nothing indicated that the call of a hit-by-pitch was not the correct call. By the time the team saw the slo-mo, it was too late to request a review.
However, Sanchez was calling out to have the call replayed from the moment it happened, so that in and of itself, should have told the Yankees skipper something was wrong.
Girardi said he did not want to break up Green’s rhythm on the mound as the bases would be loaded and reviewing the call would have done that.
However, put simply the decision by Girardi was a bad one and cost the team at least four runs, but even more might have cost them the game and the ALDS.