2. Aroldis Chapman
The smirk somehow looks even worse in the sixth inning of a 7-2 game than it does in the bottom of the ninth, post-walk-off.
When Aroldis Chapman hit the IL in late August to deal with an infection resulting from a new tattoo, most fans hoped the issue was realer than Jose Altuve’s similar ink mishap. Would Chapman make it back by the end of his contract? If he did return in 2022, would Aaron Boone trust him, or demote him directly back to the middle innings?
Before Chapman’s latest IL stint, he had worked his way back inside the “Circle of Trust” with 9.1 consecutive scoreless innings against the villainous likes of Boston (twice at Fenway), the Mariners (three times) and the Cardinals. Sadly, the resulting good will crashed all the way back down when he fudged around with the bases loaded in extras against the Rays before Francisco Mejia cleared them (the Donaldson Grand Slam Game) and bungled an ugly 0.1 of an inning against the Blue Jays two days later.
The control issues? Back! Back in full force.
His only appearance since coming back off the IL came in Milwaukee over the weekend in a low-pressure game the Yankees were already trailing. He hucked a fastball to the backstop, then finished a scoreless frame with a walk mixed in.
Nothing about Chapman’s 34-year-old self breeds confidence, and that was true before he fell out of rhythm. Nothing about his current body of work has earned him a postseason roster spot over a returning Scott Effross or the team’s emergent rookies.
But, because we know how this works…