The Yankees had a healthy 7-3 lead heading into the top of the ninth against the Mets on Saturday, and closer Aroldis Chapman came to the mound to finish off the win in his first outing since the All-Star break.
But, what looked to be a routine outing for the flame-throwing lefty, turned into a big scare real fast. Chapman issued a walk to Kevin Plawecki to lead off the inning, and Amed Rosario followed up with a single to make it first and second with no outs.
Then, Chapman lost the strike zone. He issued 11 straight balls, which brought home a run after the walk to Jose Reyes. Brandon Nimmo had a 3-0 count before Chapman hit him to plate another and make it a two-run ball game.
That was the end of Chapman's surprisingly bad outing, and when asked about it after the game, he said nothing felt wrong. It was just an off outing.
"No I feel good," he told YES Network's Meredith Marakovits. "It's just a bad outing and that's all."
Chapman has been dealing with knee tendinitis, and that question came up as well. However, the veteran lefty diverted it saying he actually feels better than he has in recent weeks.
"The good thing is that I'm feeling better from the knee," he said. "So little by little it's getting better. We'll keep working on it."
Thanks to Chasen Shreve, Chapman didn't have a blown save on his stat sheet at the end of the game. Shreve came in and rolled a double play with a run scoring to bring the Mets within one. He ended up getting Wilmer Flores to ground out to save the win.
"Excellent job by Shreve," Chapman said. "He came in to solve that problem and he did the job."
It was odd to see Chapman struggle this bad, and hopefully his next outing shows the typical lights-out closer the Yankees certainly need in this second half.