The Yankees, if it’s not mental and it could be, need to assume it’s physical with Chapman. It can’t go on like this; he belongs on the IL.
For the Yankees, even in the midst of a historic win streak (now at 11), it’s not all gold and silver.
A problem has reared itself up that requires the immediate attention of Aaron Boone and his staff.
Boone played last night’s game against the Braves as he does any other game. He went to his bullpen after Andrew Heaney turned in four so-so innings, leaving the game knotted at two.
Choreographed to the pre-game plan, the Yankees used a trio of relievers who took the team to the seventh inning, by which time the Yankees held a 5-3 lead.
No surprise, Boone went to his go-to guy at this point, Chad Green, and Green came through again with two spotless innings.
Aroldis Chapman is paid to be the closer for the Yankees. Over the course of five seasons since signing an $80+ million contract, Chapman has finished 180 games for the Yankees.
Yankees: Reaching Reality With Aroldis Chapman
Boone is hearing it today, but he is the Yankees closer until Chapman isn’t, so Boone stuck to the plan, bringing in Chapman to pitch the ninth.
The box score provides the ugly details: two hits and two walks, one of which came with the bases loaded, drawing the Braves perilously close to the Yankees.
Shaking his head, Boone removes Chapman, bringing in untested (in these situations) Wandy Peralta, who gets the fifth save of his career by retiring the Brave’s best hitter, Freddie Freeman, through six consecutive change-ups. Whew, the Yankees win.
In his post-game press conference, looking to defer talk about Chapman’s performance, Aaron Boone chose to deliver eloquent praise (deserved by the way) to Peralta:
Yankees: Chapman Does Not Belong In A Pennant Race
For all practical purposes, the two-game series in Atlanta was the equivalent of a playoff series. If not in the standings, the Yankees need to, and they did, make a statement.
Chapman failed in one of those games, just as he has in two (authentic) playoff appearances, each of which cost the Yankees from moving on.
Whatever Chapman’s problem is, it cannot be a problem for the Yankees at this point in the season. If last night was an “experiment” by Boone to give his closer a chance to succeed, it failed, and it almost cost the team a win.
Yankees: Out Of Sight Is Out Of Mind
Out of sight is out of mind, and with all the pressure on Boone and his bullpen, the best option is for the team to move Chapman to the 10-day IL.
What’s wrong – who cares – make something up. MLB is very lenient with these things.
Send Chapman home, telling him to do nothing for a few days, and we’ll (Yankees) go from there.
A blow to Chapman’s ego? Perhaps, but at this level, he has only himself to point fingers at, although Chapman did try that once before, claiming that Cubs manager Joe Maddon “misused” him during the 2015 run to a Cubs World Series Title.
Whatever the case, the Yankees bullpen is well-stock, as proven last night and many times before.
A team without a closer winning a World Series? – I can’t think of one. But concerning the Yankees bullpen, there is any number of guys who can fill the role on a game-by-game situation, just as Peralta did last night.
While Chapman alone throws the pitch, here’s a point that shouldn’t be missed.
Should not part of the Yankees’ focus be on Gary Sanchez, who caught the entire game, presumably calling for Chapman to throw his slider, a pitch he didn’t have last night, instead of his fastball?
Back to the other side, though, when Chapman could have shaken him off, and…
Yankees: It’s Not Ideal But It Can Work
It’s not an ideal situation facing Boone, but it’s far better than sending Chapman out there on a wish and a prayer that he’ll “have it” today.
Placed on the IL, the Yankees can treat him like any other injured player, providing Chapman with rest and rehab appearances in places like Double-A Somerset and Triple-A Scranton, proving he is worthy like all others of rejoining the team.
To do anything else is the Yankees kicking the can down the road until the next time Chapman is called into a crucial game – and that’s not a bet I would take.
Here’s What Readers Are Saying…
Glen Schiffman Let loisiaga become the full-time closer
Randy Cicale I think his downward spiral started when Boone went to the mound one game, asked if he wanted to pitch to a batter, Chapman said he wanted to pitch to him, Boone agreed then went back to the bench and held up 4 fingers. Had to blow Chapman’s mind. The manager not showing confidence in his pitcher. If that’s true, it could be a tell.
Philip Lupi They don’t need a reason. He’s broke and needs fixing.
Eric Breeze I agree with Peralta for the job I like the warrior role (but something tells me) Chapman has lost velocity in his fastball and something tells me something is wrong with his elbow or arm
Joe Gonzalez At this point his confidence and lack of controlling the game has Chapman viewed as a liability rather than an asset.
Mike Harrington Agreed, and I think it’s both. He didn’t do rehab before coming back last time (speculated to be him not wanting it). He’s got a LOT of ego and doesn’t seem to be able to cope when things aren’t going his way. We saw this earlier in the year during a bad stretch when he was posting dramatic nonsense on Instagram about overcoming adversity like he was being asked to storm Normandy or something.
Closing Published Comments And Final Thoughts
Closing published comments at this point. Readers, like Boone, perhaps, have lost faith in Chapman. What to do from here on is less obvious to all.
A point to reinforce, though. In nearly all cases, MLB defers to the team when moves are made to the IL.It’s up to the Yankees -,just do it.