After yet another blown save by New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman, perhaps it’s time to reconsider his role with the team.
New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman has done it again.
The Bombers entered the ninth inning of Sunday Night’s matchup with the Boston Red Sox with a 2-1 and it looked like they were going to win the affair after grinding against Chris Sale and take a series win from Boston.
Chapman mowed down Hanley Ramirez on three fastballs that all were clocked at over 100 MPH. 20-year-old rookie Rafael Devers was next to the plate and he took a 1-2 fastball that was clocked at 102.8 mph over the left field wall for an opposite field, solo home run, tying things at two.
— MLB (@MLB) August 14, 2017
That meant that Chapman had blown another save, his fourth blown save in 19 save opportunities. He later allowed two runners to reach in the 10th inning via hit by a pitch and walk. He was removed from the game without getting an out in the inning and the latter ended up scoring and being the decisive run in the ballgame.
The 29-year-old left-handed flamethrower signed a five-year deal worth $86 million during the offseason and he has certainly not lived up to the contract. This latest mishap contributed to one of the team’s most devastating losses to date, dropping the Yankees to 5.5 back in the AL East to Boston.
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In fact, one could make the argument that Chapman doesn’t deserve to even be given the keys to the Yankees bullpen and be the team’s closer. This was his second consecutive bad outing, as he’s allowed three earned runs over his past two appearances (2 1/3 innings), along with one hit (Devers’ home run), three strikeouts and four walks.
After two straight mediocre outings out of the bullpen on Friday and Sunday, Chapman has seen his ERA get bumped up from 2.87 to 3.48. He has also walked 16 batters this season, almost matching his season total from all o the last season — 18 walks.
The Yankees sport one of the best bullpens in the league, yet their closer is the shakiest of them all. New York needs to find consistency at the back-end of their bullpen and the way they could accomplish that is by making a switch at closer.
When asked if he was thinking about making a change at closer going forward after Chapman’s performance this series against Boston, Girardi responded by saying that “he is my closer,” according to Anthony Rieber of Newsday.
Girardi on Chapman: "He's my closer." Mistake.
— Anthony Rieber (@therealarieber) August 14, 2017
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First off, both players have closed for the Yankees in the past.
Robertson served as the Yankees closer in 2014, which was the first year after the Mariano Rivera era. Betances has filled in as the closer due to injury and trade over the past three seasons, whether it has been for Andrew Miller or Aroldis Chapman.
Among the two relievers, Betances was the only player to start the season with the Yankees. New York acquired the services of Robertson in a seven-player trade prior to the non-waiver trade deadline in a package that netted the Yankees Todd Frazier and Tommy Kahnle, as well.
Since rejoining the Yankees bullpen a couple of weeks ago, Robertson has posted a 1.42 ERA in 12.2 innings pitched, along with 16 strikeouts. On the year over 42 appearances, he has posted a 2.35 ERA, 3.01 FIP and a 2.86 xFIP, along with a 12.33 K/9 and 13 saves in 15 chances, in 46 innings pitched.
Betances hasn’t allowed a run in seven games (eight innings) since July 25 against the Cincinnati Reds and he hasn’t allowed a hit in six games (seven innings) since July 27 against the Tampa Bay Rays. On the year over 46 appearances, he has posted a 2.30 ERA, 2.56 FIP and a 3.08 xFIP, along with a 15.91 K/9 and six saves in eight chances, in 43 innings pitched.
In the scenario that Girardi would make a change at closer, Robertson would probably be the best fit for the role.
Robertson had been a high-level closer for the past three years before he was dealt back to the Yankees. During his time in Chicago, he picked up 84 saves over two-and-a-half years, as well as 39 saves in his lone season as a closer with the Yankees back in 2014.
Betances struggled down the stretch last fall as the Yankees closer when he was named to the role after the Yankees traded away Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman before the trade deadline. However, he does have a career 2.18 ERA and 28 saves to his name, including 12 last season.