The Yankees were able to grind out yet another win on Wednesday night and New York third baseman Todd Frazier said that the motivation for the American League Division Series-clinching 5-2 win over the Cleveland Indians was right there in the dugout.
Frazier said: “This one is for Joe,” talking about embattled Yankees manager Joe Girardi. “He got a lot of criticism after that second game, and we talked a lot, me and him. I couldn’t be happier for him. I couldn’t be happier for him.”
Frazier was of course talking about the Yankees’ Game 2 loss Friday. Girardi failed to challenge an on-field ruling that Indians outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall was hit by a pitch with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
When the replay was shown, it revealed that the ball hit off hitter Chisenhall’s bat on the 0-2 pitch. It should have been in fact, strike three and would have ended the inning. What happened instead was that Chisenhall went to first and loaded the bases for Francisco Lindor, he then hit a grand slam off Yankees reliever Chad Green to cut the Yankees’ lead to one. That changed the game and the Yankees went on to lose 9-8 in 13 innings, putting the Yankees down 2-0 in the series and needing a serious comeback.
Girardi took responsibility for the no-call, saying he felt “horrible about it.” He was vilified by the media for his decision and booed by Yankees fans in Game 3. All of that is now ancient history.
“A lot of criticism went his way and it shouldn’t have, and we came together as a team for him. This one is definitely for Joe,” Frazier said.