Yankees cannot afford Aroldis Chapman delusion any longer

Aroldis Chapman is the poster child for what’s wrong with baseball and the Yankees right now.

It’s all about lighting up the radar gun. It’s not about pitching.

And yes, fastballs at 102.8 mph can leave the ballpark as quickly as those thrown at 93 mph. Chapman has to learn to pitch a little, command those laser beams, or the Yankees need to figure out a way to use him best and — considering the other arms they have in the bullpen — find someone else who can close.

Go to Dellin Betances or David Robertson. Chapman is lost.

Chapman surrendered a one-out home run to rookie Rafael Devers that allowed the Red Sox to tie the game in the ninth Sunday night at Yankee Stadium. Chapman then helped blow it completely in the 10th as the Yankees wound up 3-2 losers to Boston, dropping 5 ¹/₂ games back in the AL East.

When asked by The Post if he would consider going to another big arm in the bullpen, Joe Girardi said flatly of Chapman: “He’s my closer.”

A closer who has blown four saves in 19 attempts and now posts a 3.48 ERA. The lefty has surrendered runs in 10 of his 36 appearances this season.

By going to Robertson (131 career saves) or Betances, Chapman would get the message to clean it up.

This is Rivalry Week, and this is when the Yankees need Chapman most. This is why they paid him $86 million over five years this past winter.

Chapman was a defiant man at his locker, smirking at one question about his struggles and saying through an interpreter: “I felt good with all my pitches, the breaking ball and the fastball.”

Chapman said the fastball to Devers was a “good pitch, credit to him.”

That was only the second home run Chapman has surrendered in his career to a left-handed batter. Luke Scott also hit one off him in 2011.

That doesn’t really matter. Chapman is no longer totally trustworthy on the mound. Too often, it is a high-wire act.

He stayed on to pitch the 10th, and after retiring the first hitter on a strikeout, Chapman hit Jackie Bradley Jr. with an angry 0-2 fastball then walked Eduardo Nunez.

Girardi took him out, motioning with his right hand for Tommy Kahnle as soon as he bounced out of the dugout. Chapman, who was sweating profusely from his first pitch of the night to his last, took his hat off, placed it in his glove and walked off the mound to the sound of boos from the 46,610 fans.

Another walk by Kahnle loaded the bases.

The next hitter, the sweet-swinging rookie Andrew Benintendi, laced a rocket single to right to put the Red Sox on top 3-2, and the Yankee Stadium boo birds really went crazy.

Robertson could close or Betances or a combination of all three. This overreliance on Chapman at this point makes no sense. Chapman has to get his act together. This is not a radar-gun competition. It’s about getting the last three outs of the game, doing it when your teammates need you most.

The tightrope act is tired, and Chapman does not have the same command of his pitches after winning the World Series with the Cubs, when he threw 15 ²/₃ innings in the postseason, including 7 ²/₃ innings in five World Series appearances. He is too much of a burden right now in a bullpen that should be set up for success.

He doesn’t close games. He opens opportunities for opposing teams.

“The key here is to keep fighting,” Chapman said. “I have high expectations of myself, and the last couple outings haven’t been what I would like them to be. So you definitely feel bad when you lose a game like that. You put that on your shoulders.”

Girardi tried to paint a pretty picture, saying of Chapman: “He made one mistake. That was just too good a pitch to hit. I thought his stuff was really good. I know the last inning he walked a guy and hit a guy, but if you look at his stuff in the ninth, it was pretty darned good.”

Good enough to lose again.

Source: http://nypost.com/2017/08/14/yankees-cannot-afford-aroldis-chapman-delusion-any-longer/

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