The Yankees have a big problem.
Not only have they lost five straight games, and nine of their last 10, following a 13-game winning streak, but the back end of their bullpen continues to be a major issue.
While losing Jonathan Loáisiga to a strained rotator cuff was a big hit, as was the loss of the struggling Zack Britton for the season, closer Aroldis Chapman’s struggles have persisted as well.
In the Yankees’ 6-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night, Chapman gave up a leadoff home run to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the ninth inning and walked two more batters before getting pulled for Wandy Peralta.
Chapman has given up four runs in his last seven innings across eight appearances. His fastball has been subpar and so has his command, walking eight batters during this span.
The left-hander’s velocity has also been lower than we are used to seeing, sitting in the mid-90’s.
According to manager Aaron Boone, Chapman’s issues root back to his mechanics. And without a dominant Chapman, this shaky bullpen is not what we expected from the Yankees this season, given that this was always an area of strength for them over the past several years.
The Yankees got jumped for the top Wild Card spot in the American League Wednesday night by the Red Sox, and the Blue Jays currently sit 1.5 games back of the Bronx Bombers for the second slot.
As the Yankees hold on for their dear lives to try to secure a playoff berth, Chapman and the rest of the bullpen’s woes could be what does them in down the stretch.
Even if they do wind up making the postseason, if Chapman can’t turn things around, they won’t be going very far in October.
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