New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Aroldis Chapman might return to closing games after two consecutive dominating outings indicate the left-hander may have overcome his struggles from last month.
Chapman entered Tuesday’s game against Baltimore in the eighth inning, and closed out his perfect frame with a strikeout of Orioles slugger Chris Davis on a 101-mph fastball. The following inning, Dellin Betances served up a walk-off, two-run home run to Orioles third baseman Manny Machado.
Girardi said he would have considered using Chapman in the closer’s role against the Orioles on Wednesday had the situation arose, but the game was postponed until Thursday due to inclement weather.
“I think it’s something that you definitely think about,” Girardi said. “I’ve said that I really believe Chapman is going to play an important role down this stretch. We need him, so it’s going to be important.”
Chapman signed a five-year, $86 million deal in the offseason, but lost the closing role after a string of poor outings in mid-August. However, he has allowed just one run and three hits over his past five appearances while striking out six batters.
In 43 appearances this season, Chapman is 4-3 with a 4.02 ERA and 16 saves in 20 opportunities.