It’s hard to believe that the New York Yankees haven’t won 11 games in a row since 1985, when Rickey Henderson, Dave Winfield and Ken Griffey Sr. patrolled the outfield, given that they have won the most games in the majors during those 36 seasons. They had won 10 in a row six times in the intervening years, but lost the 11th game each time.
So when I’m the dangerous first baseman for the Atlanta Braves Freddie freeman came to his turn in the bottom of the ninth Tuesday with two outs, the bases loaded and the Yankees clinging to a 5-4 lead, the moment held a playoff-like tension between two potential Series fighters. World Cup, with the winning streak at stake. In fact, it became the game’s best moment down the line: It was only the fifth plate appearance this season in the majors to hit a 3-2 count with the bases loaded in the ninth with two outs and the team. batting down for one run.
Chapman had started the inning, pitching for the second night in a row after throwing 11 pitches on Monday. Adam duvall he singled with one out and two outs, Ehire Adrianza walked on four pitches. On a seven pitch at-bat, Ozzie albies he reached on an infield single, somewhat beating a routine of two jumps to third base to load the bases (one of the most impressive plays of the season).
– FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) August 25, 2021
By now, Chapman was sweating like Matthew Modine in a rubber suit in “Vision Quest.” Chapman has been better lately after a stretch from mid-June to early July, when he allowed 15 runs in 5⅔ innings, but he’s still gaining the trust of Aaron Boone. Chapman just returned late last week after missing 13 days with elbow inflammation and allowed a home run, walk and hit in his first game against the Boston Red Sox and Boone took him out for Lucas Luetge, who got the last out to save in a 5-2 win.
So when Chapman walked to Jorge Soler Going 3-2 to force a run Tuesday, Boone called out Chapman for the second time in a row while in a save situation.
Peralta, acquired from the Giants in late April for Mike tauchman it has made its way into key situations. He fought Freeman for nine pitches, eventually getting him to fly to record his third save with the Yankees.
The starting pitcher Andrew Heaney he was impressed.
“You’ve got a lot of crazy stuff to shoot; I think it was three or four consecutive 3-2 trades for the current NL MVP, and all of them quality pitches, and he got it out,” Heaney said. “It’s a great position to be put in, and for Wandy to come out like that was extremely impressive.”
With a day off Wednesday, Boone handled this like a playoff game, taking Heaney out after four innings and turning to six relievers. However, the Yankees only have one day off scheduled until September 22, so it will be 27 games in 28 days. Even with a couple of extra roster spots in September, he’s pushing the bullpen with six relievers a night. Plus, after this performance, Boone won’t want to use Chapman too often on consecutive days, and that’s aside from the comfort level of wearing him in salvage situations. Remember, Zack britton he’s probably out for the rest of the season and could face Tommy John surgery.
Still, the Yankees haven’t lost since the “Field of Dreams” game in Iowa. They lead the Red Sox by 2.5 games in the wild-card race, with the A’s two games behind the Red Sox. While all the positives are lining up, the enhanced offense with Joey gallo and Anthony Rizzo; Gerrit cole and Jameson taillon settling into a powerful one-two duo; a defense that has made some great plays lately (including Andrew Velazquez delivering a good shot to the relief to catch Freeman at the plate and save a run Tuesday) – Chapman’s problem looms over the home stretch and the Yankees’ hopes for October.
Right now, it’s hard to imagine the Yankees going all the way with Chapman as the closer. When he gets in front of hitters, he can still take them out with the slider or a spread finger fastball, but getting in front has been problematic, with 31 walks in 42 innings. He has already equaled his career record with seven home runs allowed. As we saw against Albies and Soler, he has little faith in his fastball, throwing Albies three sliders in a row with three balls and then throwing five sliders in a row at Soler after a first pitch fastball out of the zone. This isn’t the intimidating, domineering Chapman we’re used to.
So as the Yankees continue to win, Boone still faces a tough question: Who will be the guy in the ninth inning?
The Red Sox and Alex Cora could soon ask the same question. They managed to hold off the push to beat the Twins 11-9 on Tuesday, but Cora had to get her closer, Matt Barnes, after Barnes entered with a three-run lead and allowed a home run to Josh donaldson and then give two tickets. Hansel robles, who had allowed 20 runners on the bases in his first 8⅔ innings with the Red Sox after reaching a trade deadline deal, had to clean it up and get two strikeouts and then had it Jake cave hit a line to second base.
Barnes entered the All-Star Game after a dominant first half, but has struggled in August, with 10 runs and three home runs allowed in his last 4⅓ innings. He also pitched Monday and had to be pulled out of that outing, after allowing hits to four of the five batters he faced and ruining the save (although the Red Sox won the game in the 10th inning). Barnes has always been unstable throughout his career when appearing in back-to-back games, so just like with Chapman, that’s a constant concern.
Robles had 10 saves for the Twins before the trade, and he was throwing 99 mph Tuesday, but he’s hardly a reliable option.
For now, Cora emphasized the positive: a victory.
“We have 72 of those, and not many teams can say that,” Cora said after the game. “It’s 27 outs. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s difficult. It seems like the last two days we had to use almost the entire roster, which isn’t perfect, but it’s good. Sometimes wins like this help us build character. “.
So yeah, for now, everything is fine, even if the anxiety level increases as we move into October.
That’s true for every team and fan in the playoff race. I got a message from a friend of mine, a Mariners fan, who was watching the Yankees end the game (encouraging a loss, of course). “This is more stressful than an M’s game,” he texted me.
It’s worth noting that Seattle completed a two-game sweep over the Athletics to get just one behind Oakland and three games behind Boston. The M’s are somewhat in this despite a minus-56 run differential. Scott Servais stayed with Drew steckenrider, who threw the final seven outs of a 5-1 victory Tuesday with just 23 pitches. So while All-Star Chapman and Barnes battle it out, the Mariners have stayed in the wild-card race behind Steckenrider and Paul sewald, two guys who signed as free agents after their previous organizations let them go. They have combined for a 2.18 ERA.
At this time of year, you have to discard the resume. You want the hot hand, and the Yankees and Red Sox hope to find one.
Information from ESPN Data was used in this story.