Boone & New York Yankees Show Zero Faith in $18M Hurler
In the last week of August, as Major League Baseball teams prepare for the stretch run to the playoffs, managers begin to set their pitching rotations, bullpen roles and line-ups to get ready for the most crucial part of the season. Not that those responsibilities can't change in September but as a big league manager once said about the final month, "either you have the horses or you don't. There are no new ones in the barn."
That brings us to the New York Yankees barn or bullpen to be more specific. As the Bombers battled their crosstown rival New York Mets, one high-priced relief pitcher didn't get used in either game and both were close. Aroldis Chapman had not pitched since Friday against Toronto. The $18 million relief specialist was fresh and ready to go Tuesday night. Is Chapman no longer considered a viable option in a close game? “I think he will be and can be,” Boone told Greg Joyce of nypost.com. "Will be? Can be?" Which is it?
Boone continued, “we gotta still get him there though. After a couple tough ones, we’ll see. On a given night, we’re going to have to. I do feel like there was a long stretch there where he was starting to pitch in some of those spots, whether it be the sixth, seventh or eighth, whatever it’s been. But we gotta get him back to that point after a couple ones where he struggled." It almost seems that Boone is resigned to having to use Chapman at some juncture but is no rush to do that, especially when he had a chance for a 3rd straight victory.
Realistically, where does the Yankees skipper go from here with his pricey lefty-reliever. “just trying to work on that confidence and get him in those situations. There’s going to be games where we have no choice. The one thing about him is physically it’s there, physically we’ve seen it now in a long stretch. We just gotta get that next layer of confidence, especially when it gets a little wobbly for a hitter or two, to still find it.” You have to love it when your manager says, we had "no choice" other than to put you in the game. Don't expect to see much of #54 down the stretch, except when a mop is needed.