The New York Yankees dropped the finale against the Tampa Bay Rays, but they were able to take the series at the always difficult Tropicana Field. They are already 20-17, comfortably above .500 after being as bad as 6-11 a few weeks ago.
The pitching has been one of the main driving factors behind the Yankeesâ€™ success. We all know that Gerrit Cole has been virtually unhittable every time he steps on the mound, and that Corey Kluber and Domingo German turned their seasons around in the last couple of starts. But the bullpen has been extraordinary all year long.
And the best reliever on the Yankeesâ€™ roster remains Aroldis Chapman. The closer has, to this point, an immaculate ERA of 0.00. He has done it in 15.0 innings, which is already more than what he pitched last season (11.0 frames.)
The most impressive thing about Chapman this season is that it is already mid-May, and he is still running a negative FIP of -0.03. A pitcher has to be extremely dominant to have a negative FIP, and that is the best word available to describe Chapmanâ€™s campaign so far.
The Yankeesâ€™ closer wants to break personal bests
The All-Star closer is well on his way to posting his best start since 2012, when he didnâ€™t allow any earned runs in April and May. That year, the Yankeesâ€™ stopper, then with the Cincinnati Reds, didnâ€™t concede his first earned run until June 9, and went on to have his highest WAR finish of 3.2.
This year, the Yankeesâ€™ flamethrower is already up to 1.1 WAR, and we havenâ€™t finished the second month of the regular season. Everything has been fueled by the use of a splitter.
On Wednesday, Chapman nailed his ninth save of the season and had a rematch with Rays infielder Mike Brosseau, who hit a go-ahead, eighth-inning homer off Chapman in Game 5 of last yearâ€™s American League Division Series. The Yankeesâ€™ closer struck him out and, later, did his job.
â€œI’m just trying to do my job there in that inning. I was just focused on getting the job done at that time of the game. Whatever happened in the past, forget about that. You canâ€™t really be thinking about that when you’re trying to do your job out there,â€ he told MLB.com.