Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Apparently, the Yankee plan is to let Aroldis Chapman close until he starts blowing games; last night, he came close...

You better sit down, kids. 
I'll tell you why.
You might not understand, kids.
But give it a try.
Now how should I put this.
I've got something to say.
If El Chapo is closing,
The game's going away...

Pssst. In the kitchen. It's Cher. She wants to talk... It's about Aroldis.

Last night - in case you switched to the heartstring-tugging piquancy of NBC's This Is Us - El Chapo pitched the ninth. He replaced Michael King, who'd thrown three perfect innings, fanning six. I don't fault Aaron Boone for the move. He didn't want to overuse King, and this was a classic save situation - a two-run lead - the kind of finger food that Chapman is supposed to devour without chewing.

Everything looks copacetic. Chapman fans the first Oriole on four pitches. The guy appears overmatched. Next batter grounds sharply to third, a lunging stop by DJ LeMahieu that later, in hindsight, will take on more significance. 

Two outs. Mop up time. Ho-hum, right? Well, suddenly, Chapman fires a fastball directly to the backstop. Higashioka barely touches it. It's as if a rubber band just snapped. On a 2-2 count, he gives up a single to left. Tying run at the plate. Hmm. Fortunately, the next batter is Robinson Chirinos - hitting .141 - who spent much of last year as a Scranton Railrider. First pitch, he lashes a line drive single up the middle, nearly takes off Chapman's glove.  

Tying runs on base. Hmmm. Next batter hits a fly to LF that Joey Gallo approaches like a sanitation worker creeping up on a talking turd. The two-time Gold Glover plays it on a hop, holding up at the last moment. WTF? With the game on the line, Gallo holds back. It's lucky the O's had a catcher on first base. Only one run scores. 

Tying run at third. Winning run at second. The O's best player, Cedric Mullens, at the plate. Clay Holmes warming in the pen. The Yankees strategize at the mound, a moment sponsored by Cellino & Barnes, or somebody. Mullins swings at the first pitch, a towering foul pop to third, LeMahieu catching it and celebrating like Charlie Hayes. Chapman looks like a rescued hiker who just spent the night atop Everest. The Yankiverse sighs with relief.

Remember all those games our bullpen lost last year, and the year before, and the year before that, with out-of-body, traumatizing moments of pain? Well, we just came within an inch of our first Chapo meltdown abomination of 2022.

I get it that there is "tradition" in Chapman as closer. Last night, he tallied his 9th save of 2022. He is tied for fifth in MLB. Three of the closers ahead of him - Jordan Romano (whom we recently battered), Liam Hendricks (whom we recently nearly battered) and Daniel Bard (he's still around?) - have higher ERAs than Aroldis (at 2.65). Aside from Milwaukee's Josh Hader - who hasn't given up a run in 14 save opportunities, no pitcher is a sure thing - though King (1.40) and Holmes (0.49) - are damn close. 

Still, here's the moral of last night:

We can never feel security with Chapman closing. 

It doesn't matter if there are two outs, or how dominant he looks after the first batters.  

At any moment, Chapman can start flinging balls above the tree-line, and then leaving sliders over the plate - and suddenly, the game is out the window. 

Changing closers is never easy. But at some point, this will bite us. 

The O's last night were a warning. Soon, the Yankees must deal with a dark reality. Our closer is the weakest part of our staff. 


Carl J. Weitz said...

Chapman must be moved to the 8th inning where there is much less pressure. Use King to close. Do not resign Mark David Chapman next year.

On my Facebook feed this morning I saw a notice of a group of grifting con men will be appearing at Yankee Stadium on August 6. No, Trump and his family will not be there. Nor will there be a corporate meeting of the Bloated Front Office. No... Hallelujah! Joel Osteen, his wife, and their swinging swindlers will be there "performing" on that date. Birds of a feather, no doubt.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

"Next batter hits a fly to LF that Joey Gallo approaches like a sanitation worker creeping up on a talking turd."

Pure eloquence.

Celerino Sanchez said...

Maybe they are showcasing him?

JM said...

Chapman is a head case. Once someone gets on base, he's lost.

And because he's a head case, using him in earlier innings may well complete his ego's meltdown. He may shoot his garage in protest.

Just release him. Or better, trade him to the NL for whatever we can get. Get rid of him. As long as he's around, Boone will bring him in, and disaster won't be far behind.

Retired Stratman said...

Carl - perhaps we could stage a “Moon Joel Osteen” event at the stadium that day.

I just realized that if the Yanks play only .500 ball for the rest of the season they will end up with 90 wins.

Local Bargain Jerk said...

RTF: You beat me to it.

"Next batter hits a fly to LF that Joey Gallo approaches like a sanitation worker creeping up on a talking turd" made me LOL.

ZacharyA said...

Anyone suggesting moving Michael King from his current role as multi-inning shutdown reliever and tying him to the 9th inning needs their head examined. You'll have situations where he sits for 9/10 games because there's no save opportunity and then come in with a 3-run lead for a single inning. Nonsense. Same with Clay Holmes who has been used correctly as fireman in tight situations against the heart of the order. Absolutely no reason to limit him to a single inning and watch lesser relievers blow the game in the biggest moments (which often come before the 9th!). These two are thriving in their roles, don't restrict their usage.

The Yankees are 27-9 (.750) despite Chapman's struggles. The Yankees have time to figure this issue out before October arrives.

I think the no. 1 priority is for Matt Blake to fix Jonathan Loaisiga. If we get the 2021 version of that guy back, let him close in all big games.

Ken of Brooklyn said...

OMG HAHAHAHAHHAAHHAHA!!!!!!!!!> "Next batter hits a fly to LF that Joey Gallo approaches like a sanitation worker creeping up on a talking turd"

Please please PLEASE place this as the new quotable above the IIHIIFIIC masthead! El Duque, I know it might go against protocol to place one of your own quotes up there, but it's just TOO DAMN FUNNY not to read each and every day!

JM said...

I still say get rid of the guy. Don't have a fixed closer. Continue to use Holmes and King like we do, but have them close as available.

I know the "no closer" approach doesn't have a great track record in the MLB, but it's better than Chapman.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Yeah, despite the undeniable greatness of the "talking turd" remark—and despite the fact that one of those grounders barely got through—Chapman just cannot keep closing. I like the idea of trading him, especially if we can fix Johnny Lasagna.

But we won't. A codicil of the Cashman Conundrum is that nothing changes on the Yankees until it absolutely does not work anymore. (Thus Gallo's 0-10 with 5 K's and nearly a game-losing play in the field against the Orioles STILL won't end his time in left.)

We are stuck with Torrents Chapman until he melts down in one key situation after another against our toughest competition.

ranger_lp said...

Don't think Chapman is tradable...but this is the last year in his contract. Yanks wont resign him. Hopefully, Blake can straighten him out. He's more upright before going into the stretch as opposed to earlier in the season so that's one adjustment. Rolaids IMHO is having problems with the ball grip and I don't know how you fix that...

AboveAverage said...

Once again - ANALytics at its best.

Alphonso said...

" Changing closes is never easy." Nor is changing diapers.

But you have to do it.

Doug K. said...

From Seinfeld...

Carl J. Weitz said...

I have inside info that the talking turd originates from The Post Farm and Mr Ed.

William said...

Huh? What the hell just happened?

This Holmes pug got 2 quick outs in the bottom of the ninth in a save situation, then...just got another out. He didn't even walk the bases loaded first.