Giancarlo Stanton put the cherry on top of an AL Wild Card Game that really could not have gone much better for the New York Yankees on Wednesday night.
Stanton took Oakland A’s closer Blake Treinen deep for a solo home run to lead off the 8th inning and make it 7-2. Stanton absolutely crushed the homer, which had a 117.4 mph exit velocity and soared out of the stadium by the left field foul pole.
Chapman was placed on the disabled list on Wednesday with what the Yankees are calling left knee tendinitis. He’d still been pitching well — his ERA on the season is 2.11 — but he’s had very bad outings against the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox in the last month. Perhaps a knee issue is behind why one opponent doesn’t quite find him as intimidating as he used to be.
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.
J.D. Martinez had an interesting theory on Chapman. "He used to be the only guy in the league who was throwing 100 regularly. Now you see more guys doing it and when you face him, it's not as intimidating."
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.
Aroldis Chapman dismissed concerns about his knee after a rough outing on Saturday.
Chapman entered the New York Yankees’ game against the New York Mets looking to close things out with a 7-3 lead. Unfortunately he failed to record an out as he put on five straight, walking three, hitting a batter and allowing a hit. He was charged with three runs in the appearance.
After the game, Chapman was asked whether his knee had anything to do with his issues Saturday. Both Chapman and manager Aaron Boone dismissed those concerns.
Aaron Boone says the team thinks Aroldis Chapman is OK. The Yankees will be further evaluating the closer who has been pitching through knee tendinitis the past couple months, but the belief is it may simply have been rust and the long time off for Chapman.
Joe Girardi believes that Aroldis Chapman “liked” a comment on Instagram calling the manager an “imbecile” was an accident.
Girardi was criticized for declining to challenge a hit by pitch call in Game 2 of the ALDS that some thought may have been a foul tip. The decision not to challenge appeared to change the game because the next batter hit a grand slam, and the New York Yankees went on to lose to the Cleveland Indians in extra innings.
Given the language barrier — Chapman is Cuban — and the possibility that he has someone running his account, it could have very well been an accident. At the least, Chapman showed his manager he cared about his feelings by going to speak with him.
Joe Girardi may have cost the New York Yankees a win in Game 2 of the ALDS Friday night when he did not challenge a critical call, and it would appear flame-throwing reliever Aroldis Chapman is among those who are frustrated with the manager.
With the Yankees leading 8-3 and two out in the bottom of the sixth, Girardi chose not to challenge a questionable call where it was ruled that Lonnie Chisenhall was hit by a pitch. The next batter belted a grand slam to get the Cleveland Indians back into the game, which they eventually won to take a 2-0 series lead.
Fans were understandably furious, and one of them called Girardi a “complete imbecile” and called for the Yankees to find a new manager. Chapman — or the person running the pitcher’s official Instagram account — gave the comment a “like.”
After temporarily losing his job as the closer for the Yankees, it sounds as if Joe Girardi is considering handing over ninth inning duties to Chapman once again.
Last month, Chapman was removed from the role after a string of appearances that saw the left-hander surrender runs. Luckily for New York, they also have Dellin Betances and David Robertson in their bullpen, both of whom Girardi was able to call upon when save situations presented themselves.
At the time Chapman’s ERA was 4.29. Since then, he has lowered it to 4.02 and has shown Girardi enough improvement that Chapman may once again assume his familiar role.
“I think it’s something that you definitely think about,” Girardi told MLB.com. “I’ve said that I really believe Chapman is going to play an important role down this stretch. We need him, so it’s going to be important.”
“I’m sure a lot of people would love to have my problem, to have those three guys at the back end and figure out which one you’re going to try to close with,” Girardi continued. “It’s something we’ll continue to talk about, but the best thing from all of this is Chappy has thrown the ball really well the last two times. I would say Tuesday night has probably been as good as we’ve seen in a while and that’s a really good thing.”
Girardi is certainly in an enviable position. Robertson has two 50-save seasons to his credit. Betances has proven to be one of the best strikeout pitchers in baseball over the past handful of seasons. Chapman boasts a fastball that routinely hits triple-digits and was given the largest contract in MLB history for a relief pitcher.
While Girardi has a decision to make, fans made their choice abundantly clear by their responses to the poll below.
Chapman lost the job after giving up seven runs over the span of 4.1 innings in four outings, with the team using him in lower-leverage situations since. He hasn’t allowed a run since, albeit in just 1.2 innings of work.
As the pennant race heats up in Major League Baseball, the league’s various contenders find themselves in different spots. The likes of the Houston Astros, Washington Nationals, and Los Angeles Dodgers have more or less wrapped up their divisions. Aside from those teams, there are several franchises that still have a lot to play for. These teams are competing for division titles or wild-card spots.
Here are eight players on teams that may or may not make the playoffs. Each of these players will have a major say in what happens with their team.
1) Mike Trout, Angels
Finally, we get to see Trout in an actual playoff race again. The surprising Angels are right in the thick of the American League wild card race. They are competing despite the fact that Trout missed a month and a half of the season.
The superstar outfielder is the type of player who is talented enough to single-handedly lift his team into the postseason, and he’s certainly trying to do so. With seven home runs in 22 August games, Trout has been pacing the Angels in what may somehow be his best career season yet. If he keeps it up, an Angels playoff appearance may not be as far-fetched as it once seemed.
The move appeared imminent. After Chapman fared poorly against the Red Sox on Friday night, Girardi refused to commit to the reliever as the team’s closer. Now he has made it official that Chapman is out.
Chapman has allowed runs in each of his last four appearances. Friday’s outing was his first since hurting his hamstring on Tuesday. Perhaps he needs more of a break before being thrown into such high-stress situations again.