NEW YORK — Yankee Stadium was buzzing entering the ninth inning on Sunday afternoon.
Aaron Judge had just tied the game with a booming solo home run into the second deck in left, putting New York in a position to come back and defeat the White Sox in the first game of a doubleheader.
Seconds after left-hander Aroldis Chapman entered the game, however, that buzz turned into a barrage of boos.
And then, it got even worse.
Chapman served up a go-ahead home run to White Sox left fielder A.J. Pollock on just his second pitch of the inning, giving Chicago a 2-1 lead. Then, a few batters later, he gave up an RBI double, more than enough insurance for Chicago to secure a 3-1 victory.
The Yankees' closer—who may not hold that title for too much longer—has now allowed an earned run in each of his last five appearances for the first time in his career. That rocky stretch comes after Chapman began the year with 12 scoreless outings, converting on all nine of his save opportunities.
On May 9, Chapman had a 0.00 ERA through 10.1 innings pitched. Now, Chapman has a 3.86 ERA over 14 frames.
"Just not been as fine with his command," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said shortly after the loss. "I think at times going away from his fastball, he got beat on the fastball today there by Pollock, but just not quite as sharp as certainly we've seen him."
Two batters after the Pollock home run, Chapman walked pinch-hitter Andrew Vaughn. One of his pitches soared high above catcher Jose Trevino, slamming into the backstop below the screen.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone and a trainer went out to check on Chapman, but after a lengthy conversation on the mound, the southpaw stayed in the game.
It turns out that Chapman is managing an issue with his achilles, Boone revealed after the game. It's an injury that doesn't have an official diagnosis yet, but it's something Chapman has been receiving treatment for.
"He wanted to pitch," Boone said, of the conversation on the mound. "He was just getting some treatment on his Achilles. I just felt like when he was moving around, he wasn't moving around great out there but he wanted the ball."
Boone added that Chapman didn't look great "on his legs" during Sunday's game.
Vaughn was able to waltz from first to second on a wild pitch moments after his walk, advancing to third on a passed ball. That set the table for right fielder Adam Engel and his run-scoring double, giving the White Sox a 3-1 advantage.
That signaled the end of Chapman's outing—right-hander Ron Marinaccio finished off the ninth—and the Yankees were retired in order in the bottom of the frame by closer Liam Hendriks.
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