Tomorrow begins a new page for the New York Yankees.
With his 30-day suspension for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy, the Bomber can officially say they have Chapman Fever.
Aroldis Chapman and his 100 M.P.H. fastball will come become the ninth inning closer, moving Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances into set-up roles.
“We have a chance to be, maybe, the best bullpen in baseball,” Chapman said through a translator. “The quality of arms that we have, it’s amazing.”
You would think it would drive a guy like Miller crazy. However, for his part seemed the soon to be erstwhile closer seemed resigned to the fact he’s giving up the ninth and taking over another inning.
“He just makes us better,” Miller said. “You want to be as good as you can one through seven and I don’t think anyone is going to argue that he could help any bullpen. We have the six best relievers in baseball and you add him, you are going to be better.”
And Chapman seemed also pleased with the challenge. “I just want to say I’m super excited and happy that the manager has given me that vote of confidence in letting me be the closer,” said Chapman. “At the same time, I’m very humble of Betances and Miller moving down on the order to allow me to pitch the ninth.”
Look, more importantly, Chapman gives Joe Girardi some options. Yesterday, the Yankees were caught with their britches down when they didn’t have either Betances or Miller because they were used so much. Thankfully for them, Nathan Eovaldi was able to go eight innings.
But there will be times that won’t be the case and Girardi will now have the luxury of stretching that bullpen out. Anyone who watched the first month of this season knows the starting staff can be a bit thin at times and Girardi will be making his calls to the pen.
Because of the relief depth, he will be more willing to pull a few starters earlier before games get out of hand, knowing there will be someone of quality available late with the lead.
Also this three headed monster takes will take away the home team’s advantage in tie games when the Yankees are on the road. Because there are three closer quality guys, Girardi can two of them in tie games, saving one – probably Chapman – for when the team gets the lead.
Girardi didn’t want to say who will take the other innings and he shouldn’t. Think about this, the manager could use either Miller or Betances in a fireman’s role where either one comes in with runners on base. So instead of having them pitch clean innings, they can shut down the opposition with the eighth and ninth still in safe hands.
“Your hope is every night you at least have one of them available,” Girardi said. “That’s your hope. Maybe you don’t. Maybe you run into a streak where they’ve pitched a lot and maybe you don’t (have them), but if I don’t have them, that probably means we’re winning a lot of games, and that’s a good thing too.”
Absolutely. This is why Chapman Fever may be the best thing for these Yankees.