Yankees remove Aroldis Chapman from closer role after four straight ugly outings
Chapman has allowed at least two runs in three straight appearances
Right now, Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman is in the middle of the worst stretch of his career. He was roughed up for two runs in a non-save situation Friday night, and he has now allowed a run in four consecutive outings. Chapman has allowed two runs in three consecutive outings, and has a decidedly un-Chapman-like 4.29 ERA in 35 2/3 innings this year.
As a result of his recent ineffectiveness, Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced Saturday afternoon that Chapman is out as his closer, at least for the time being.
Keep in mind Chapman is in the first year of his reliever-record five-year contract worth $86.5 million. Surely the Yankees did not expect to have to demote him in year one of that contract, but they were left with little choice. The Yankees are in a postseason race and Chapman hasn't given the team much reason to trust him in close games lately.
Of course, the Yankees have a very deep bullpen with plenty of ninth-inning alternatives. Dellin Betances and David Robertson could close for most teams, and the setup crew will remain strong with the unheralded trio of Tommy Kahnle, Chad Green, and Adam Warren. The Yankees could use Chapman in low-leverage middle innings situations for the time being until he rights the ship.
Overall this season Chapman is 16 for 20 in save situations and his strikeout rate is a career low 12.6 K/9. That's still excellent, but for Chapman, it's well below his career 15.0 K/9. The Yankees came into Saturday five games behind the Red Sox in the AL East and 3 1/2 games up in the race for the first wild-card spot.
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