Aroldis Chapman continues to work to earn back the Yankees’ trust and prove he can handle high-pressure situations.
The seventh inning of the Yankees’ 7-2 win against the Mariners at Yankee Stadium on Monday night was the former closer’s latest strong showing. Chapman gave up just a single to Seattle outfielder Jesse Winker and recorded a strikeout in a nine-pitch inning.
Chapman, whose lack of effectiveness and control relegated him to mostly middle innings since his return from the injured list early last month, appears to be getting into a rhythm on the mound at the right time — with several new pitchers coming into the Yankees’ bullpen as the trade deadline nears. After striking out Mariners second baseman Adam Frazier and giving up the single to center from Winker, the lefty threw a slider that Eugenio Suarez whacked into a double play to end the inning.
The Yankees bullpen, however, is already looking more crowded after the last couple days. Reliever Scott Effross is coming from the Cubs and veteran Lou Trivino is arriving from Oakland.
Asked where he sees Chapman fitting into the revamped bullpen, manager Aaron Boone didn’t give a definitive answer.
“You know, we’ll just kind of continue to determine that,” Boone said after the win. “Again, we like what we’re seeing. Love the rhythm he’s getting into, the way he’s throwing the ball. We’ll just see. It’ll be kind of fluid and evolve, but I’m not racing to put him in any particular situation. I’m looking at getting him in against parts of the order that I think he can be successful against.
“And if he’s throwing the ball like this, that’s most of them.”
In his three appearances before Monday night, Chapman pitched three straight perfect frames. In relieving Nestor Cortes in the Yankees’ 8-2 in over the Royals on Saturday, Chapman broke 100 three times.
Even with Chapman starting to pitch better, the additions are welcome in the Yankees clubhouse.
“It’s great any time you’re adding, but when you get front-end starters, relievers, the relievers we got, it’s always a good addition,” said Anthony Rizzo, whose three-run homer in the first inning set the tone of the game. “It’s always good to add and it’s always good to add depth, you can’t have too much depth — especially these next two months and then into October. I think it’s a big tribute to us and this clubhouse since spring training, setting the tone.
“The front office comes and makes big moves like this, it just kind of backs us up.”