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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

JD Martinez: Aroldis Chapman is ‘not as intimidating’ anymore

Aroldis Chapman Yankees

The Boston Red Sox mounted an improbable comeback against the New York Yankees on Sunday night, and J.D. Martinez feels it was made possible in part by Aroldis Chapman not intimidating hitters the way he once did.

Martinez hit a single off Chapman with two outs in the 9th inning that drove in two and cut New York’s lead to 4-3. The Red Sox then tied the score on a throwing error and went on to win in extra innings. After the game, Martinez explained why he believes Chapman has lost some of his effectiveness.

He may have a point. Chapman’s fastball has been clocked as high as 105 mph, but there are several relievers across Major League Baseball that hover around the 100-mph range. Boston’s closer, Craig Kimbrel, is one of them. Like any other pitcher in the big leagues, Chapman is most effective when he’s hitting his spots. A fastball right down the middle of the plate is a mistake most MLB hitters can capitalize on — no matter how much steam is on it.

For what it’s worth, Chapman’s blown save on Sunday was only his second of the season. He has 29 saves and an ERA of 2.25, so he’s still getting plenty of hitters out. There has been some concern recently that he could be dealing with an injury, but the left-hander insists that is not the case.

Whether Martinez is right or wrong, it’s a good sign for the Red Sox that their best hitter is not intimidated by their biggest rival’s best reliever.



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