Thursday, August 19, 2021

The lone stain on a great Yankee sweep remains the closer who couldn't close... and who may kill us all.

Today, I cannot in good faith welcome my old friends, the IT IS HIGH regulars, Despair and Hopelessness. If last night's weather radar showed a crescent of rain over upstate New York, it was in fact the fading smirk of Boston fans, as they faced a three-game Ryan McBroom. Me? I'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep. Let the morning time drop all its petals on me. Life I love you. All is groovy...

Except for one lingering malady and future heart attack:

Mr. Aroldis Chapman. 

In case you missed it, El Chapo came in last night hoping to close a four-run lead and he lasted about as long as the Afghani government. Before being pulled for Lucas Luetge - let that sink in: pulled for Luetge  - he nearly conjured up a catastrophic loss. I counted 13 stress points in 15 minutes. Listen: My blood pressure does not need 13 stressers in 15 minutes. At the risk of suffering PTSD, let's review them.

Stresser No. 1: Chapman's first pitch to Enrique Hernandez is a 97-mph fastball, sailing high and wide. Across the Yankiverse, you sense an immediate "Uh-oh." 

Stresser No. 2: He goes to a 3-2 count with Hernandez on another pitch well off the plate. Damn. Did we have to go to a full count?

Stresser No. 3: Hernandez strikes out swinging on a pitch that would have been ball four. Okay, I'll take it. Maybe he's back! Maybe this will be a one-two-three inning! Welcome home, Aroldis!

Stresser No. 4: Hunter Renfro hits a moon shot to left, second tier of the bleachers. Okay, it's NOT going to be a one-two-three. 

Stresser No. 5: As the YES team processes the magnitude of Renfro's blast - it's one of the longest balls ever hit off Chapman - we watch sweat droplets off El Chapo's chin turning into a flash flood warning. Another shudder across the Yankiverse.

Stresser No. 6: YES shows us that nobody is warming in the bullpen. Thank you, YES, for doubling my blood pressure.

Stresser No. 7: After getting ahead of Xander Bogaerts with a 1-2 count - the stadium begins it's new two-strike sound effect, a Star Wars-based moaning that David Cone has earlier compared to a "pregnant whale" - Chapman throws three straight balls, none even closely emulating a strike. So... a runner on first. A million Yank fans have the same simultaneous thought: IT'S HAPPENING AGAIN!

Stresser No. 8: Up steps Rafael Devers, the league's best player and a living Yankee nightmare, prompting YES to replay the famous HR he blasted off Chapman several years ago, while a rookie, launching a hellish Yankee defeat. 

Stresser No. 9: Chapman - who has no fastball - throws two splitters to Devers and gets ahead 0-2 in the count. On the next pitch, Devers lashes a liner to right, which Andrew Rizzo knocks down and makes the out - the first of his two game-saving plays. (And by the way, Luke Voit should STFU, whining about playing time, because if he's playing 1B, that game flies out the window.)

Stresser No. 10: On the first pitch, a meaty fastball, JD Martinez lines a single to right, bringing the tying run to the plate. 

Stresser No. 11: Here comes Aaron Boone, ashen-faced, his Pacemaker working overtime. He pulls Chapman, who leaves to scattered boos and a rising creek bed of  perspiration. 

Stresser No. 12.  Luetge gets Kevin Plawecki on a great play by SS Andrew Vasquez, who bounces his long throw to first. Rizzo snags it on an in-between hop. (Again, if Luke is out there...) It's unbelievably close, and if Plawecki wasn't a catcher, it's a hit.

Stresser No. 13. The umps take their good old time with a video review of the call at first, and finally declare Plawecki out. Just to recap: If he's called safe - and he could have been called safe; it's that close - a run scores and Boston has two men on base, with Alex Verdugo coming up. By my count, that's at least three more stressers. 

So, what do we now have in the bullpen? Clearly, not Aroldis Chapman, the brand as formerly seen on TV.  The YES announcers chalked it off to "rust." Maybe they're right. That's a hopeful assessment. I would be terrified to see Chapman enter in a one-run game. My heart can't take it.


Rufus T. Firefly said...

Voit had a good rep and a bad glove.

Now both are bad.

JM said...

Its pretty easy to peel away the layers of stupid involved in bringing Chapman in to close last night.

First, Chapman himself. After being out for a good stretch, he decided he didn't need any stinking rehab assignment or further work to get into game-ready shape. He's Chapman, damn it. He can just plunge right into major league games from the get-go.

Second, also Chapman. He didn't have a fastball. Now, true, his fastball has been mysteriously absent for quite a while, at least the Chappie fastball that made his career. But last night, he had nothing. Nothing at all. No control, no speed, no humility. Just hubris and shitty pitching.

Third, Boone. As Gomer Pyle used to say, surprise, surprise, surprise. Knowing all of the above--and I don't see how he couldn't know--he declares Chapman our closer, and proceeds to bring him into the game. There's no way Chapman will mow down the Red Sox. Boone put the game at risk, then put it more at risk by not having anyone warming up in the bullpen immediately. Nice guy Boone was stroking Chapman's ego while possibly throwing the game away. Idiot. Again.

Fourth, Loogy? Really? That was the best we could do? I realize our best guys have been working a lot lately, but tell me: is getting an out or two from a tired Lasagna or Greene or a not-so-tired Nestor a worse choice than Loogy? He has had flashes of brilliance, but come on. Boone again, "managing" his bullpen so adroitly.

Fifth, fuck Luke Voit. This has nothing to do with Chapman, of course, but fuck him anyway. As Duque said, if Voit was at first, we lose the game. No, asshole, you do not deserve to play as much as Rizzo because YOU'RE NOT AS GOOD. End of story.

OK, I'm vented. We now return to our regularly scheduled program.

Dantes said...

Why the fuck did they not have Chapman pitch an inning or two at aaa before activating him? Something to get his head right at least. For fucks sake he’s turned into Ricky Vaughn

TheWinWarblist said...

Dantes? It is because the collective "brain" trust of the Yankees are feckless, uncaring and imbecilic monsters.

TheWinWarblist said...

Fuckers to the last individual.

Anonymous said...

A few things...

1) Chapo Crappo

JM, El Chapo is the closer. Doesn't mean we have to like it but he is. So bringing him in with a relatively "safe" lead (four runs) against a tough team was a good way to get him back into it. A one run game would have been insane. That he wasn't up to snuff (why snuff BTW - It's nose tobacco yes? is neither here nor there. It was the right move. Chapo just wasn't ready. Hopefully - and I do mean hopefully, next time he will be. In the meantime at least Boone took him out. That meant he was paying attention. So there's that.

2) The Star Wars Noise

Ya know, the Death Star blew up -- so making sounds that emulate it when there are two strikes seems kinds stupid. What's next for them? The sound of the Titanic hitting the iceberg? Morons.

3) Luke Voit

He's always struck me as a heart on his sleeve kind of guy. He shouldn't have gone public because it made him look like a big ungrateful baby but I'm not going to start hating on him.

4) Shortstop

I watch the Knicks and the NY Giants a lot and I get used to their level of play and then I catch a Chiefs game or see a guy like the Greek Freak play and I remember that there's another level of ability. One we don't posses.

I felt that way watching Velazquez and Rizzo yesterday. As has been said here... there's no way that Gleyber gets that ball or Voit makes that pick. Shortstops are supposed to have range and great arms. Watching the Yankees it's easy to forget that. Fortunately last night we didn't have to.

Doug K.

ZacharyA said...

I don't get the complaining about Luke Voit at all. He's a competitor. What would you like him to say? "Oh well, I guess I'll be sitting on the bench. That's fine with me, I don't like playing baseball anyway."

He's had a rough year with health issues, but he's been a great offensive player in his Yankee tenure.

Since August 2018 (when Voit joined the team):
Voit .273/.365/.520 (.885 OPS)
Rizzo .275/.380/.486 (.866 OPS)

Rizzo should play 1B because he's the far better defender, but Voit does deserve to be in the lineup IMO. Put him at DH and stick Stanton in the outfield with Judge and Gallo.

Anonymous said...

Someone previously pointed out that the Red Sux were in first place only because they were too stupid to know how bad they were. Well, they must be very stupid because they were in first place for a long while.

I have an alternate theory. The Red Sux hitters actually look somewhat human now. Could it be that they were cheating again this year and now have had their cheating devices taken away?

It's been going on a very long time, starting with the David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez years. No one but this blog ever talks about how those two were also on "the list" of ballplayers who tested positive for steroids when MLB did their anonymous amnesty secret results test, which only singled out A-Rod. I think the Red Sux have been doing multiple kinds of cheating from that time to the present, in varying degrees. Something has happened recently and the Red Sux have not been able to cheat.

The most shocking thing about last night is that Heaney pitched 7 innings of one run ball. So perhaps we were too quick to write this guy off. I can already hear the morons praising Brain as the greatest genius of modern baseball.

I didn't have any problem with Luke Voit voicing his opinion about playing time. I would've worked him in there last night as the DH. Sure, Rizzo should play 1B. But Voit should get playing time over Stanton or Gardner. If we have to, we move Judge to CF, and we can get both Gallo and Stanton in the outfield. If Stanton gets hurt, that solves the problem.

The Hammer of God

Anonymous said...

@ZacharyA Re. Voit & Stanton, great minds think alike.

The Hammer of God

DickAllen said...

Allowing The Sweatshop to pitch without so much as a minor league rehab stint is unbelievable, a stunt that Cashman should never have allowed (I pin that squarely on him), and even worse, for Boooooone to bring him into that situation with the belief that he would be effective. Did anyone on this blog have confidence that Chapman would close it out 123?

I can't fault Chapman for any of this. What the hell did Boooooone expect from a guy who hadn't pitched in ten days, two weeks?

If the lead was ten runs, yeah, okay, I'll buy that, but four runs with Chapman might as well be no lead at all. Even when he's on his game. He needs some meaningless reps and he won't get them in August and September when a playoff run his hanging by a thread. Ship him out to Tampa for a week to get his head and his fastball back on track.

Booooone's decision making has been erratic at best. Teams reflect leadership and this team, while playing to it's talent level is heading for an early golf date when Boooooone makes one more unfortunate move that will cost the season.

And last, but not least, Homer Hanky acquitted himself last night. I kept waiting for the shit to hit the fan with every leadoff batter reaching, but he kept his act together. Seven innings! Good for him. Though I'm still doubtful.

DickAllen said...

The good news?

We've got four games coming up with the Twinkies.

Rufus T. Firefly said...


Agree on your preferred lineup, but...

Voit forgot the platitudes he's supposed to regurgitate -- I'm just trying to be ready and help out. I want to play, but Rizzo's good too. It'll be good when we're both in the lineup. yada, yada, yada.

He just came across as whiny. Didn't Voit get his first chance with the Yankees because they gave up on the oft-injured Bird? He should just say he wants to contribute and bitch to Bonehead privately.

Alphonso said...

Voit deserves to play and will play. But he is not better than Rizzo. Last night showed that, in spades.

And we all can recall numerous times when Voit left tying and winning runs on base while striking out. He has a familiar look, glancing at the scoreboard with dismay, as he sees strike three cut the center of the plate.

However, this is a team game, despite the focus on individuals. He did not need to speak up.

That seemed very unlike him and unlike this Yankee unit.

It was shocking. And he has put himself in a bad position, unless he again speaks up and apologizes. There are ways to to that with grace.

Because if he says nothing, he will not be appreciated when he flubs a ball or K's in a big situation.

Stand up Luke.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

At this point, the smart move would to bring Chapman in if it's the 6th or 7th inning. So

(a) he doesn't think he's being asked to close, so he calms down

(b) maybe his sweatifier will be turned down a bit, and he won't generate water profusely

(c) when he F's THAT up, you can have Chad or Lasagna ready behind him

(d) THEN you can convert Chapman into the guy who starts (and pitches 2 innings) "the bullpen game." Or not.


If he's got it, that will become apparent. If he ain't, you've learned something of value, with relatively low risk.

Bringing AC in to pitch the 8th or 9th is a really bad idea right now. So bad, I'm expecting even Lorna Boone to see it. After all, he left Johnny L in to pitch TWO innings to close out that 7-inning first-game victory. It was what many of us wanted, and then it happened. Go figure.

I know WW, I know -- that sounds like hope. I apologize profusely . . .

HoraceClarke67 said...

Ghost of Hoss here:

I have to agree with Zach(k): I don't mind Voit speaking out, and I'm glad he wants to stay and play for your New York Yankee.

That said, I would use him mostly in that lineup everyone's proposing, as a DH. Rizzo is better hitter and a much better fielder. And much to my surprise, the Giancarlo experiment in the OF seems to working (I know, I know, it will until he pops the next hammy. But still.)

Put Gallo or Judge in center. Use Gardy as a defensive replacement. Or, considering the fact that he now can't throw and gets terrible jumps on balls, as a pinch-runner. Whatever. Have Voit DH.

HoraceClarke67 said...

As for Sweatsville: if he won't accept a rehab assignment, he should get used to some middle relief work, until and unless he straightens out.

If he has a problem with that, he can walk away from his massive paycheck. No hard feelings here, buddy!

HoraceClarke67 said...

And Velazquez's incredible play last night should have the Yanks rethinking on The Gleyber.

Not that Velazquez can necessarily replace Torres. But maybe Velazquez and Wade together can.

The Gleyber's game has come down to the fact that he's a power hitter. Or used to be. 9 home runs in his 141 regular-season games, over two seasons, just doesn't cut it.

He has already demonstrated that he can't play shortstop very well, and that he's not the brightest collection of pixels on the Yankeetron scoreboard. He put the sliding glove on the wrong hand?

Enough already. Torres should have to win back his position. If he doesn't, he should be dealt this off-season.

DickAllen said...

You have a point: when Andujar went down, he COULDN’T get his old job back because of Gio. Different situation, same idea. It’s not like Gleyber was in the midst of an MVP season.

It might be worth considering putting him back at second and moving DJ over to third and have Odor ride pine. At full strength the Yankees have an embarrassment of riches (if that ever happens). Then there is Wade who ought to be getting Gardner’s at-bats. He’d even be a better defensive choice than Odor.

And then I wonder how Boooooone will be able to understand all of that.

Carl J. Weitz said...

Great news on least from the perspective of my bet with Dick Allen. I still have hope he will make 2 starts. Even if his arm falls off after one pitch in start # 2. LOL

Carl J. Weitz said...

I agree with Unknown about Chapman.
He can block being sent down for rehab being in the league for at least 5 years but he has no leverage in his situation. If he refuses, they can put him on waivers (the same with Stanton). But the claiming team would have to pick up his remaining contract. No GM in their right mind would do that on either player. Chapman can fuck himself.

DickAllen said...

Good luck with that Carl!

Kevin said...

Left unsaid in all of this is the unpleasant possibility that Chapman has been hiding an injury, or a cable is getting ready to snap. I'm not crazy about him as a man, but when right scares the Hell out of most hitters. If he goes, who do you like in the playoffs?

Kevin said...

@ Hammer, totally agree with you regarding The Juice. Not that this is any kind of a coffin nail, but it's food for thought. Maybe three years before Papi retired, I was scrolling through the batting stats. Since I loathed Papi I had gotten in the habit of linking him with Melky and Cano since they were buds, and from the DR. It was early August and all three players had terrible numbers, and I did grin. I checked back maybe three weeks later, to gloat, when to my amazement all three players had gone on MEGA-ASS-TEARS. I would love to see what a statistician would have to say about that "coincidence".