The New York Yankees had to endure more than two hours of rain delays, split in two of them, to finish last night’s game against the Los Angeles Angels. They got to the ninth frame leading 8-4, and manager Aaron Boone gave the ball to his closer, Aroldis Chapman.
Chapman has been struggling of late, but the Yankees’ skipper opted to go to his closer, hoping that he got it together and pitched a clean inning in a non-save situation. In theory, there is no better situation to bring him amid his struggles and see if he can work things out.
Chapman walked Taylor Ward, Max Stassi, and Anthony Rendon, and faced Jared Walsh with just one out in the inning and the bases loaded. The lefty slugger deposited a 1-0 slider deep into right field for a game-tying grand slam, a play that the Yankees’ closer hadn’t allowed in his career.
Sadly, last night’s events weren’t isolated for Chapman. Here are his numbers in his last seven games: 11.12 ERA, 5.2 innings, nine hits, seven earned runs, eight walks, and six strikeouts, with a 3.00 WHIP.
Yankees’ fans are worried about Chapman’s rough stretch
So what is wrong with Chapman? Is he hiding an injury? Could his dip in performance be related to MLB’s ban on foreign substances on the ball?
For now, the Yankees’ star left-hander is attributing his rough stretch to a lack of fastball command, or at least last night’s game.
Here is what he told Betelhem Ashame of MLB.com: “[I was] just struggling trying to command my fastball. It’s tough when you’re trying to get strikes with it and you’re not getting it. … When you’re trying to locate and use that pitch and it’s not the way you want it, you run into trouble, and I think that’s the main cause for me now.”
Will Chapman be able to right the ship?
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