The New York Yankees have cause for concern when it comes to Aroldis Chapman and something better be done now to save the squad.
The fastball was “only” topping out at 97 mph but more alarmingly, New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman threw 11 of his 16 pitches for balls in the ninth inning of Saturday’s 7-6 victory over the New York Mets. Chapman allowed three earned runs, letting the Mets creep back into the game, before being pulled by Aaron Boone.
After the game, Chapman insisted his barking left knee was not the issue and had felt better than usual on Saturday. Meanwhile, there’s a guy selling a bridge in Brooklyn for a song, if you hurry.
While it’s true Chapman has had seven days of rest since his last outing in Cleveland on July 14, it’s also true that in his last seven outings his ERA is 7.20, allowing four ERs in five innings.
Granted, Saturday’s meltdown was a big part of these ugly numbers, but Aroldis has been dealing with tendonitis in his left knee for at least two months now—following a 4-1 Subway Series win on June 9, Chapman admitted he’d been dealing with the knee for about three weeks.
After facing the Mets, the Yankees next nine games are against Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Baltimore, teams with a combined record of 106-188, before heading to Boston for a big four-game series on August 2. The time is now to put Chapman on the 10-day DL in hopes that rest and treatment can have him firing on (or as close to) all cylinders down the stretch, which includes 10 games against the first-place Red Sox.
With all the quality arms in their bullpen, the Yankees could try a closer by committee or plug-in ex-closer David Robertson to fill the slot during this time frame. They could also use Chapman’s spot to bring up prized lefty Justus Sheffield and give him a start between now and the July 31 trade deadline to better gauge how badly they need a starting pitcher and how much they should sacrifice to get one.
This all makes sense, but the Yankees have thus far been elusive in terms of responding to questions on why Sheffield hasn’t been to The Show yet. Along with the handling of Chapman’s knee and Tommy Kahnle’s stint in the Witness Protection Program, the Sheffield situation has been another case of the Yankees “playing their cards close to the vest.”
Yankee fans are hopeful that when the cards are finally revealed they include an ace…and a healthy closer.