Aroldis Chapman threw 16 pitches on Thursday night. Only four of them found the impact zone. For the past seven years, the 34-year-old Yankee forward has grown closer to the fastball team.
On Thursday night, Aaron Boone could not wait another roller coaster ride. As soon as Chapman passed his third beer, the minimum he had to face under MLB rules, the Yankees manager slowly walked out to the mound to pick up the ball from Chapman.
“It’s a tough challenge,” Boone said after the game.
But the Yankees have obviously already done so. After seeing Chapman’s fight last year – by the time Boone was going to Jonathan Loaisigi to shut him down, while he was giving the veteran time to take a closer look at his problems – the Yankees quickly captured him.
“The fastball team was not sharp tonight, not in the zone a bit,” Chapman said through Yankee translator Marlon Abreu. “But it’s good that the guys went there and did a great job and they were able to win this game.”
Mike King came in and cleared up the mess for his first save in the major leagues. He attacked George Springer and knocked him out on three fields and then persuaded Bo Bichet in a double play.
Yes, yes, the Yankees were able to win 3-0, but they should also be concerned about Chapman.
Chapman not only passed three batters in a row, but he passed at the bottom of the Blue Jays schedule to load the base and put the balance on the plate. He’s had moments like this before, and then he suddenly breaks out of it and gets out of the jam.
“I felt he could get out of it,” Boone said of Chapman. “I didn’t feel he was too far away … Just one of those nights.”
But the Cuban-born is leaving one of the worst seasons of his career in 2021 and is entering his final year of a contract with the Yankees with questions.
Chapman finished with a 3.36 ERA (the second largest in his career) and allowed nine home runs, the highest number he allowed for the MLB season. He also had one of the worst gait scores (15.6%) of all pitchers in baseball, and the strikers had the highest level of tough contact with Chapman in his career.
This spring, the Yankees planted Chapman and talked to him serving in the eighth inning in situations with a high level of leverage. He backed the idea by saying he was here to fall and help the team win.
On Thursday night, Chapman did not question Boone’s move.
“As I said, it worked. So it’s a good decision, “Chapman said.
This isn’t the first time Boone has had to take Chapman, and he has options to take a seat with high leverage. It was the first time King had stepped in to save the game, but they also have Loaisigo and Chad Green. So far, the bullpen has been dominant. They made four innings on Thursday night to contribute to the second standings of the season. In seven games, the bullpen posted a 1.30 ERA and struck out 34. They dropped at least four innings and allowed a series earned or less in six of the seven games.
King was a crucial part of this bullpen success, and Chapman smiled when asked about the young man who is picking up after him.
“His first rescue,” Chapman said with a smile. “I haven’t had a chance to talk to him yet, but I’m happy for him.”
While Chapman fighting the Fastball team isn’t a problem with the five alarms, the Yankees need to keep an eye on it. They signed Zach Britton for a four-year, $ 53 million deal with the idea that he could be insured at the back of the bullpen, but last October he underwent elbow reconstruction surgery and is expected to return only at the end of the season. Last season, Loaisiga scored five saves when Chapman struggled.
And now King has his first taste of closure and his first preservation.
“It was cool.”