Yankees Aroldis Chapman’s fastball finally arrived Thursday night
It took a couple of weeks for Aroldis Chapman’s fastball to arrive for the 2018 season. But on Thursday, “The Cuban Missile” got his signature 100-mph heater back, and that’s glorious news for Yankees fans.
Hitters beware and don’t stand too close to the plate. Aroldis Chapman is back and bringing the heat. The four-time All-Star looked like his old self after striking out the side in order to secure Thursday’s 4-3 Yankees victory over the division-rival Blue Jays.
The three Jays victims of Chapman’s heater were a combination of one struggling hitter and two hot hitters: second baseman Devon Travis, designated hitter Steve Pearce and left fielder Teoscar Hernandez.
Travis, the No. 9 hitter, entered the game batting below .200 for the season. Pearce had an average over .300 along with three home runs on record. And Hernandez had been red-hot hitting over .400 since being called up to the majors.
More importantly, if one of those hitters got on base, the No. 3 hitter Justin Smoak would have had a chance to drive in the tying run. Smoak burned the Yanks in the opening series of the season. So for Yankees fans, they did not want to see him make another plate appearance.
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Luckily Chapman shut the door, no, he slammed the door closed on the Jays. The win should bring a sigh of relief for all Yankees fans.
If Chapman left the month of April with a fastball below 100-mph, it could have been a warning sign. Recently Tommy Kahnle hit the disabled list because of shoulder and biceps tendinitis, which caused his decrease in velocity.
While the season is still young, the Yankees’ bullpen has been far from perfect in 2018. For example, David Roberston almost blew the game in the eighth-inning. He loaded the bases with no outs and pulled another signature Houdini trick to escape the inning after allowing only a run.
The bullpen woes and Kahnle’s injury made Chapman’s performance last night very important. Yankees fans need to feel confident in their staff, especially their bullpen that is supposed to be dominating.
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If Chapman continues to pitch like he did Thursday night, he’ll return to the All-Star game for the first time since 2015.