Aroldis Chapman has sparked the New York Yankees
This offseason, Aroldis Chapman was suspended for 30 games due to an alleged domestic abuse incident in a circumstance that he was not actually even charged with. So, Chapman served his 29 game suspension (it was reduced one game thanks to a rain out), and he made his return on May 9. The Yankees were 11-18 when Chapman returned on that date. Since then, the team is now 21-22, 10-4 since his return – the best record in the American League over the last two weeks. And although Chapman has been lights out in his save opportunities, the spark he has provided isn’t completely due to his performance, but rather, his presence.
|Picture Credit: Anthony Grupposo | USA TODAY Sports|
This could not have been more spot on. Chapman, as we know, is one of, if not the most imposing figures in all of baseball when he toes the rubber. With a fastball that reaches triple digits nearly every pitch, and a devastating slider in the upper 80’s to keep hitters off balanced, Chapman has been utterly dominant in seven appearances out of the bullpen, including six saves in six opportunities, the most in the MLB since the day he returned. Chapman holds onto a 1.29 ERA with nine strikeouts and one walk in seven innings of work. In save opportunities, he has yet to allow a run, as the only run he’s allowed this year came in his first appearance of the year in a non-save situation.
“He is on another level,” said Dellin Betances, a member of the Yankees three-headed monster, on Chapman’s season debut with the club. “You could feel the electricity when he was warming up. Everybody in the bleachers was taking pictures. He is a show.”
Not only has Chapman eased back into the closer role since his return, but Betances and Andrew Miller have transitioned to new roles in the back end of the bullpen as well. Betances now pitches the seventh inning, and has been seen in the game as early as the sixth inning, and Miller throws the eighth inning. The trio, dubbed ‘No Runs DMC’ across social media has been unhittable.
|Photo Via Newsday|
Yankee manager Joe Girardi has not hesitated to go to his strength this year. We’ve seen this trio pitch back to back to back in five different occasions this season. With this historically great bullpen, the game is virtually over when Betances takes the hill only to hand it over to Miller and then Chapman.
As a team, the Yankees bullpen has improved since Chapman’s return. The pen had a combined ERA of 3.76 with a 1.14 WHIP, and hitters collectively hit .232 against them. Those were pretty solid numbers overall, but since May 8, the bullpen has had an ERA of 2.43 with a WHIP of 1.06, and opponent batting average of under .200.
“That’s the luxury of this,” Girardi said, who has routinely given Yankee starters an early hook to hand the game over to his dynamite bullpen.
All in all, Chapman has been everything the Yankees (literally) bargained for this offseason, getting the best closer in baseball at an incredibly cheap price. His presence has brought life to a team that looked dead in the water through the first month of the season. When fans at the game hear Chapman’s intro music, “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin, come on the loud speakers, and fans watching hear that Aroldis Chapman has entered the game, they drop everything to witness the heat, or to see this must-watch TV.
Article by: Chad Raines
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