Former Yankees chap flounders again in clutch moment

Ex-Yankees relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman pitches for Texas against the Mariners in Seattle on Sept 29, 2023.
Michael Bennington
Saturday September 30, 2023

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The smirking image of Aroldis Chapman following Jose Altuve’s walk-off hit that propelled the Astros to the World Series in 2019 remains etched in the memories of Yankees fans. Chapman’s postseason struggles are unforgettable.

Even after switching teams twice since then, Chapman’s clutch performances have yet to improve. Thursday night’s game provides the most recent evidence of this trend for the Rangers. They missed a golden opportunity to secure at least a tie for the AL West title as their 2-1 ninth-inning lead unraveled into a heart-wrenching 3-2 loss to the Mariners, who are in contention for a wild-card spot, as the ex-Yankees pitcher faltered.

Chapman makes Rangers suffer 2019 Yankees fate

Chapman took the mound in the ninth inning, hoping to secure a save. However, things quickly went awry as the former Yankees reliever gave up two singles, uncorked a wild pitch, and issued a walk, loading the bases with no outs.

The ex-Yankees relief pitcher stated that the ball wasn’t going where he intended it to go. He explained that he threw the pitches he wanted to but acknowledged that the opposing hitters did a good job of making contact. Despite the difficult loss, Chapman emphasized the need to bounce back and continue their efforts the following day. His comments were reported by Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News.

Ex-Yankees pitcher Aroldis Chapman in pinstripes and Texas uniform.

Chapman’s night was over at that point, and Jonathan Hernandez took the mound in relief. Following a flyout to center field and a pop-up to third base, JP Crawford delivered a game-winning two-run double, securing a walk-off victory for the Mariners. This win brought them within one game of the Astros for the final wild-card spot, rather than falling two games behind with only three left to play.

Rangers manager Bruce Bochy acknowledged that nobody had expected the situation to go as it went. He described the loss as a challenging one and emphasized the need to rebound. Bochy reiterated that they had been saying it all year – that they had to bounce back. He noted that it’s particularly tough when the team loses in such a manner but stressed the importance of returning the following day and finding a way to succeed.

The Rangers currently hold a one-game lead over the Astros in the division standings.

As the regular season draws to a close this weekend, the Mariners and Rangers will face off in a series in Seattle. Meanwhile, the Astros will be in Arizona to take on the Diamondbacks, who currently occupy the second NL wild-card position.

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