The Yankees were on the verge of winning 11 straight games on Tuesday night. A 5-3 lead in Atlanta with the bottom of the Braves lineup to begin the last frame of the ninth inning.
But Aroldis Chapman made things interesting…again.
The Cuban Missile couldn’t close things out, as he left the game with bases loaded and two outs following a walk that brought home a run to make it 5-4. And the reigning NL MVP, Freddie Freeman, was walking to the plate.
In normal times, even at the start of this season, having Chapman in during these situations is a no-brainer. In fact, he likely wouldn’t have let it get to that point because of how dominant he was.
And he got the job done, getting Freeman to fly out to left fielder Joey Gallo to secure the victory and lower everyone’s blood pressure in the Yankees clubhouse in the process.
Now that Zack Britton is out, should Peralta slide into the closer role with Chapman’s struggle still apparent since his return from the IL?
Peralta had early struggles himself in the at-bat against Freeman, but he ended up ripping off four straight changeups that Freeman fought off on a 3-2 count with nowhere to put him. A walk ties the game. But Freeman finally got underneath one just enough and he saved Chapman from blowing yet another save opportunity.
Peralta’s clutch pitching has been on display recently this month. Just go back to the split doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox, when Peralta came in to relieve Luis Gil in a crunch, took a ball off his body and fired it to first without allowing a single run.
Gutsy outings like that has led Boone to trust Peralta, the man New York traded for early this season.
On the flip side, Peralta isn’t a traditional closer. Throughout his six-year career thus far, he only has five saves and they all came this season.
But, with the season coming down to the wire and the Yankees now looking to overtake the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East race, the back end of the bullpen needs to be sturdy. And Chapman, though pitching in only three appearances since his return from the IL with an elbow injury, is showing control issues still.
It’s an option for the Yanks, with Chad Green also available. Peralta is getting the job done at crucial times during this win streak. Chapman may need different scenarios to get that control back and not force Boone to make a move late with the game on the line.
Source: Yahoo Sports