After a long stretch of mediocre play from Chasen Shreve over the last year, the New York Yankees are finally seeing the Shreve of old help their improbable postseason case.
To say he was an absolute letdown would also be an absolute understatement.
Last September, as New York lost their grip on the divisional lead, Shreve lost his grip on his stellar numbers as his earned run average dropped from a stellar 1.89 to 3.09 thanks to an astronomical 13.50 ERA in 10 appearances in the home stretch of 2015.
Additionally, the Yankees were winless in the 10 games he appeared in that month but once Spring Training came around, he was ready to put those struggles in the rearview mirror.
In seven spring outings down in Tampa, Florida, the lefty allowed just one hit in 10 innings of work while holding batters to a .031 average with eight strikeouts.
The old Shreve was back. Or was he?
As the calendar shifted from March to April and the team made it’s way back to the Bronx, Shreve made his way back to his September self.
Through his first 19 games here in 2016, he maintained a dreadful ERA of a 5.21 as he served up seven home runs in just 19 innings of work.
He was then placed on the disabled on May 26 after suffering a shoulder injury and upon his return, he was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on June 19.
Shreve would return and shutout opponents in seven straight appearances but it was while being a constant rider on the infamous Scranton shuttle as those outings were stretched over the course of 29 games.
This week, he was called up for the third time this season and even though his roster spot is safe courtesy of roster expansions this Friday, he’s more concerned about making an impact for a team that sits just 2.5 games out of a playoff spot.
And the impact has already started.
After the Yankees dropped game one of a series with the defending World Champions that could make or break their season, manager Joe Girardi turned to Shreve in the tenth inning on Tuesday to record two outs with the game-tying run on second base.
Then, just one day later in a game even more significant, Shreve struck out three in two innings to help get the game into extras in part of seven no-hit innings by New York’s mediocre bullpen.
Over the last two games, the lefty has faced eight batters and struck out four all on his split-change.
“It’s been a frustrating year for me,” the southpaw reliever told NJ Media. “I’m just trying to finish strong. If I can help the team win, that’s what I’m here to do.”
Right now, the Yankees are in postseason mode, without a question. As we shift into the month of September, each series gets even bigger and they need an impact arm to help bolster the ‘pen that has been relatively anemic (excluding Tyler Clippard and Dellin Betances).
Can Shreve be up for the task? Time will tell, but he boldly told NJ Media: “I want to be that guy.”