A month ago, the left-hander had a 0.39 ERA and was the undisputed best closer in MLB. On July 7, he owns a 4.55 mark with a terrible 1.48 WHIP after arguably the worst month of baseball a high-profile closer has ever seen.
Knowing the team was down arms like Chad Green, Jonathan Loaisiga and Lucas Luetge heading into the series opener against the Seattle Mariners, fans were desperately hoping the Yankees just blew the doors off the AL West club to avoid having Chapman do anything of substance.
The good news? That’s exactly what they did. The bad news? Chapman still entered the game and didn’t quell anybody’s concerns.
Manager Aaron Boone called on his closer in a 12-1 game when the ninth inning rolled around. Eleven runs should be enough, right?
Prior to the game, Boone said there was a chance Chapman could be put in a different situation outside of a ninth-inning save opportunity. Luckily, this didn’t come down to controversy and the left-hander got his ninth inning with a cushy lead. However, he still looked bad.
Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman hilariously struggled in a 12-1 game.
Set to face the Mariners’ 4-5-6 hitters, Chapman once again made this a nail-biter as best he could. He allowed one hit and two walks and had to escape the bases-loaded jam by striking out the Mariners’ No. 9 hitter.
He needed 24 pitches to get through a ninth inning that should have required a whole lot less heavy lifting. He threw 11 balls as he once again struggled to locate his fastball, and his velocity was alarming after it dipped down to 94 MPH on multiple occasions.
Luckily, these are the situations Chapman needs to be used in to work through his current problems … but when will they end? It’s been a full month of this with no reprieve.
Welcome to 2021, where Yankees baseball continues to run into unforeseen problems that have no immediate or even plausible solutions. Aroldis Chapman, whose bread and butter has been his fastball since 2010, can no longer find the plate with it while hitting near all-time low velocities.
When will it end? We’re not sure. But it’s another ingredient to keep the Yankees on high alert in a campaign that was supposed to be a lot less stressful.