Itâ€™s not a secret for anybody that New York Yankeesâ€™ closer Aroldis Chapman is currently going through a rough patch on the mound. He didnâ€™t allow any earned runs in April, but has struggled so much as of late that his ERA is up to 3.77, with a mediocre 1.36 WHIP.
The last seven games have been especially bad for him. In that stretch, the Yankeesâ€™ fireballer has an 11.12 ERA with nine hits and eight walks allowed in 5.2 frames. His WHIP in those seven contests is 3.00, and that simply wonâ€™t get the job done.
Yankeesâ€™ manager Aaron Boone knows his closer isnâ€™t going through the best of stretches right now, and he was asked about him before Fridayâ€™s game, which ended up being postponed because of the weather conditions.
If there hadnâ€™t been a rainout on Friday, and if there isnâ€™t one on Saturday, the Yankeesâ€™ skipper knows who will take care of any hypothetical save chances, and that guy is Aroldis Chapman.
â€œIf we have a chance to close out a game, I expect (Chapman) to be out there,â€ Boone said, per NJ Advance Media. â€œI do think thereâ€™s been a couple outings in the last several where heâ€™s still been a little out of line delivery wise and that led to a couple balls and trying to find it out there in the fire.â€
The Yankees are letting Chapman work through his issues on the mound
Chapman has struggled mainly with his fastball command, and could be a victim of MLBâ€™s prohibition of sticky substances on the ball for pitchers.
Media present at the stadium asked Yankeesâ€™ reliever Darren Oâ€™Day whether it would be wise to let Chapman work through his struggles in a less stressful role, at least for a couple of outings.
â€œThatâ€™s a great question,â€ Oâ€™Day said. â€œThe save is a big stat in baseball and sometimes as a middle reliever/high-leverage guy, itâ€™s like the seventh-, eighth-inning job is a little bit harder than the closer because the closer always has the clean inning and never has to come into a tight situation with guys on base.
â€œBut where closers earn their money, and they get paid significantly more, is when they blow saves or they struggle. All that attention is on them. It really is a challenge. Iâ€™ve been there where (Chapman) is before. I havenâ€™t done that in New York, but it is a challenge. It really tests your mental skills and your fortitude.
â€œItâ€™s funny because weâ€™ve all been throwing baseballs for pretty much our entire life â€” childhood, adolescence, adulthood â€” but sometimes that skill escapes you.â€
For now, itâ€™s going to be Chapman out there if the Yankees are leading by three runs or less in the ninth.