The Aroldis Chapman slump is a very strange situation considering how good he was to start this season. The Yankees’ closer has gone from the most dominant closer in all of baseball to a pitcher who can’t find a way to hold a lead. He has completely lost his command recently and that has resulted in a ton of walks, a significant decrease in strikeouts, and an alarming increase in home runs allowed. This is becoming a serious issue for the New York Yankees as the blown saves by Chapman are contributing to the team falling way behind in the standings.
How Bad the Aroldis Chapman Slump Has Been
To say that Chapman has been struggling lately would be a complete understatement. He has been an absolute disaster over his last 3 appearances and really has not looked like himself since being charged with his first loss of the season back on June 10th against the Minnesota Twins. He entered that game with a 2 run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning and got shelled. He did not record an out and threw just nine pitches while allowing four earned runs including two home runs.
In his following appearance two days later against the Philadelphia Phillies, Chapman was charged with his second consecutive loss after entering a tie game and surrendering the game-winning run. He did somewhat bounce back after that by recording four consecutive saves in his next four appearances but the command was still way off and his dominance just was not there. In that stretch, he pitched four total innings while allowing four hits and three walks.
That four-game stretch was immediately followed by a terrible three-game stretch that is probably the worst run in the entire career of Chapman. In his last three appearances, he has recorded just four outs on 61 pitches while allowing five hits, six walks, and a massive nine earned runs. He was charged with his third and fourth blown saves of the season to go along with his third loss as well.
The Dominant Chapman
The most puzzling part of the Aroldis Chapman slump is the fact that he was so dominant through the early part of the season. In April he didn’t allow a run across eight innings pitched while recording an insane 20 strikeouts against just three walks. The dominance continued in the month of May when he allowed just one run in 12 innings with 18 strikeouts. Even June started out great by allowing zero runs in his first three appearances before things started to get away from him on June 10th. In comparison, his nine earned runs allowed over his last three appearances are more than the six earned runs allowed for the rest of the entire season combined so far.
The Sticky Situation
The “sticky stuff” has been a big story in baseball over the last couple of weeks. On June 21st MLB began enforcing the rules for the use of any banned foreign substances by pitchers. It has technically always been a rule but it was just not really being enforced until now. Interestingly, the Aroldis Chapman slump from a timing perspective directly correlates to the sticky situation in MLB. This disaster of a stretch for Chapman consists of his only three appearances since the rule began being enforced. It could just be a coincidence but either way, it is extremely alarming for the New York Yankees.
If the Yankees are going to make a run in the second half of the season and get themselves back into postseason contention, they are going to need Chapman to figure out how to get back on track. One of the biggest strengths of this team over the last several years has been their bullpen and Chapman is one of the main reasons why. He has been consistently reliable and always in the elite class of closers across all of baseball. The Yankees need him to return to being exactly that in the second half of this season.
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