NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It became clear Tuesday night that Aroldis Chapman’s confidence is shaken. But the big question is whether Yankees manager Joe Girardi has lost faith in his closer.
Chapman earned his 16th save of the season in the 5-4 win over the Mets. He, however, was shaky for the third consecutive outing, allowing a two-run homer in the ninth inning to rookie Amed Rosario.
The Daily News reported that Chapman was being consoled by teammates in the clubhouse after the game and sat in his uniform for a while staring off into space.
“It’s been a difficult year for me and for my expectations,” the usually confident left-hander told reporters through a translator. “I’m going through a rough patch here, but you’ve got to keep fighting. You’ve got to keep trying to go out there and do your job.”
In his last three appearances, the flame-throwing Chapman has a 13.50 ERA.
In a 3-2 loss to Boston on Sunday night, Chapman gave up the game-tying homer to Rafael Devers in the ninth inning. Before being pulled in the 10th inning, he hit Jackie Bradley with a pitch and walked Eduardo Nunez. Bradley later scored the winning run when Andrew Benintendi singled off Tommy Kahnle.
Two nights earlier, Chapman earned the save against the Red Sox despite allowing a run and walking three batters.
And his struggles extend beyond the past few days. Chapman’s 3.89 ERA on the season is the highest of his career and 2.34 runs higher than last year’s. His four blown saves are the most he’s had in four seasons and one away from matching a career high.
After Sunday night’s loss, Girardi dismissed the idea of replacing Chapman as closer. But on Tuesday night, he indicated that he might at least be considering it.
“I rethink everything every day,” Girardi said. “It’s (right) after the game, so I haven’t really thought about it.”
Chapman’s situation also might now be complicated by an injury. Bothered by hamstring tightness, he grimaced after covering first base on the final out Tuesday.
Chapman didn’t think the issue would cause him to miss time, but Girardi wasn’t so sure.
“I think you’re always worried when there’s a hamstring issue,” Girardi said. “You worry about him overcompensating somewhere else and hurting his arm.”
Girardi said the team would know more about Chapman’s condition Wednesday.
If he does lose his closer role for performance reasons, Chapman said he would be a good teammate about it.
“I’m here to pitch,” he said. “As far as where I pitch, that’s not up to me. If at some point they need to remove me from the closer position, I’m always going to be ready and willing to pitch here.”
David Robertson would figure to get the first crack at the closer’s job if Girardi decides to make a change or if Chapman is sidelined by injury. The right-hander, who was acquired in a trade with the White Sox in July, has 123 saves over the past four years.