Pardons to Elton John for the headline.
The Yanks have a problem on their hands. That problem is Aroldis Chapman and a second problem may be Joe Girardi’s stubbornness right now.
Sonny Gray pitched well, six shutout innings before yielding a 2-run HR in the seventh. Still, the Yanks took a 5-2 lead into the ninth, when Chapman gave up a 2-run HR to make things shaky before the Yanks finished off the Mets 5-4.
Chapman is a problem right now. As I wrote a few days ago, the Yanks have three closers. They can go with the hot hand, something Girardi mentioned sarcastically a few days ago in saying “Chapman is my closer. What am I supposed to do, go with the hot hand?”
Yes, Joe, that is exactly what we want you to do. We also want you to leave relievers performing well in for more than one inning. For you almost blew another game tonight.
The Yanks scored first, getting a run in the third on a Torreyes double, Gardner sac bunt and Hicks single. Good. Nice to see some littleball with the bunt there.
Jacoby Ellsbury hit a 2-run HR (6) in the fourth to make it 3-0.
Gary Sanchez homered in the sixth (21) to make it 4-0. Gray gave up a 2-run HR in the seventh, but the Yanks made it 5-2 in the eighth on a SF by Sanchez.
Then in came Chapman who almost blew the game. Why not leave Betances throw a second inning. Why not use Warren (Robertson could use the day off). But no, the “he’s my closer” stubbornness mentality almost cost the Yanks a ballgame.
You just knew when Chapman came in tonight that this wasn’t going to go smoothly.
Aaron Judge struck out for the 32nd straight game, tying a MLB record, but he did have a key double and then scored that fifth run.
Gray (W, 7-7, 3.37) 6+ IP, 2 R, 5 H, 2 W, 5 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Kahnle (H, 11) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 2.30. Threw just 10 pitches. What, he can’t go two?
Betances (H, 17) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 2 K. 2.20. Threw 19 pitches. He couldn’t go two?
Chapman (S, 16) 1 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K. 3.89. That save rule is a joke.
Happy the Yanks won. Unhappy Girardi is so inflexible with his thinking.
UPDATE: Chapman was pretty down after the game. Not as confident as previously. It could be getting to him. On the final play, he appeared to tweak his hammy a bit.
Cessa went on the DL. Smith back up.