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Joe Girardi learned the hardest lesson of the 2017 postseason

SB Nation logo SB Nation 10/7/2017 Grant Brisbee

© Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images In the first inning of Game 2 of the American League Division Series, Edwin Encarnacion sprained his ankle going back into second base. It was gross. Don’t look it up. Ankles are not made out of taffy, and they should not bend like that. 

Yankees manager Joe Girardi took a look at the play and decided he needed to challenge it. He wanted to see if Encarnacion’s foot came off the bag by a ligament. The ligament that fell out of Encarnacion’s ankle and now belongs to the universe.

The question in baseball Slack was this: Should we be annoyed at Joe Girardi for asking for a challenge that was possible because the opposing player was clearly injured? My response was that, no, we shouldn’t be annoyed. A World Series win is worth scores of millions. A parade down (street) is worth even more. And it all could hinge on a single play in a series. Don’t worry about the morality or the ethics or the unwritten rules. Worry about if a player’s foot came off the base.

The Yankees didn’t worry. It was a good challenge, and the Yankees got the out.

Fast forward to the sixth inning of the same game. With two outs, Lonnie Chisenhall had two strikes. Then this happened:

The video evidence was strong. It doesn’t have to be with those plays. Foul-or-HBP questions can be super ambiguous. This was not one of those times.

Girardi didn’t call for a replay. The next batter was Francisco Lindor — with two outs, remember — and he did this:

Man, you can understand the pivot when the video is that exciting. Anyway, the point is that Joe Girardi challenged the play that was less obvious at a time, even though the timing was unfortunate. But he didn’t challenge the play before the grand slam. Was it a logistical problem with a slow replay?

The Yankees didn’t challenge. They’ve learned a lesson. We’ve all learned a lesson. Challenge the play, even if you’re up by five. Because you never know when the next dude is going to hit a grand slam. It might have cost the Yankees their entire season, but I don’t want to be too dramatic.

(It might have cost the Yankees their entire season.)

Related slideshow: Best of the MLB postseason (Provided by photo services) 


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