Yankees manager Joe Girardi was the subject of much criticism after failing to challenge an erroneous hit-by-pitch call in Game 2 of the American League Division Series last Friday, but was vindicated after New York won three straight games over Cleveland to advance to the next round.
The comeback proved to be quite a turnaround, as at one point, rumors were swirling about Girardi possibly being fired should the team have lost the series.
Not only did they go on to win three straight games, but they also beat AL Cy Young-favorite Corey Kluber on Wednesday to accomplish that feat. Girardi was proud of the team for the way they fought, which he indicated to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports after the game. He admitted that the decision not to challenge the hit-by-pitch call affected him in a big way, and that he was emotional about it.
“To be able to rally back like that means so much to me, because, you know, I had a hole in my heart for about five or six days,” Girardi said.
The Yankees manager also revealed what he told his team after the crushing loss in Game 2.
“I screwed up, and you guys have had each other’s back the whole year,” Girardi said. “Just go out and win one game. Grind out at-bats, grind out outs, do your job and pick each other up. And don’t try to do too much. And they bought in, like they have the whole season, and they picked me up.”
Girardi seemed both relieved and proud of his team for the way they rebounded in the series. As a former player, he knows how difficult it is to beat a team like the Indians in three consecutive games.