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Yankees 1, Orioles 3: The Aroldis Chapman Experience

The former closer has lost the ability to throw strikes, and it continues to cost the Yankees games. At least this one was meaningless.

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

It was a wet, windy, and generally miserable day at the Stadium, and the Yankees’ play reflected the elements they were forced to endure. Aaron Judge struck out three times despite getting a handful of mistake pitches to hit, Aroldis Chapman again forgot how to throw strikes, and Ron Marinaccio was forced to exit the seventh with a shin injury. It was all part of a dreary 3-1 loss to drop the final home series of the regular season.

We got an instant reminder of why Chi Chi González has been designated for assignment multiple times in his career and spent the last month in the minors before today. He gave up a single, walk, and double in the first, allowing the Orioles to jump out to an early 1-0 lead. To be fair, González struck out three in the frame, but it was alarming to see the volume of baserunners early.

The Yankees had their first golden opportunity in the second when they loaded the bases with one out on an Oswaldo Cabrera single, Harrison Bader double, and Jose Trevino walk. Aaron Hicks struck out to bring Judge to the plate with nowhere to put him. He got a handful of pitches to hit, including an absolute cookie hanging slider middle-middle. However, his swing looks a little off of late and he struck out for the second time in as many at bats, leaving three ducks on the pond.

González settled into the outing after that polarized first inning, pitching three straight scoreless. He ran into a tad of trouble in the fifth surrendering a leadoff double to Kyle Stowers and walking Adley Rutschman with two outs to put runners on the corners. That would spell the end of his outing, with Aaron Boone going to Lucas Luetge out of the bullpen. González gave the Yankees everything they could’ve asked for in this spot start, limiting the Orioles to a run on four hits and three walks in 4.2 innings totaling 73 pitches.

New York got on the board in the fifth in a rather bizarre fashion. Hicks and Judge drew back-to-back walks to start it off. With one out and DJ LeMahieu batting, Rutschman mishandled a ball in the dirt and then uncorked an errant throw to second, allowing Hicks to score all the way from second.

Aroldis Chapman entered to pitch the sixth inning, and what unfolded looked distressingly familiar to a scene we’ve see all too often from the former closer this year. He loaded the bases without recording an out, giving up a leadoff single to Cedric Mullins followed by a pair of walks. Chapman struck out Ryan Mountcastle, but issued a free pass to rookie Gunnar Henderson to walk in a run and end his outing. Ron Marinaccio came in to mop up his mess and got both outs, but not before an Austin Hays sac fly doubled the Orioles’ lead, 3-1.

At this point, it’s hard to come up with a justification for Chapman to be included on the postseason roster, as his strike-throwing ability is nowhere to be found. Things only got worse from there, as Marinaccio was forced to exit the game with the trainer in the seventh. The rookie reliever has been so valuable for the Yankees, but what got him today was something that’s been bothering him for awhile. Fingers crossed that it’s something Marinaccio can shake off.

And so, the Yankees’ final home series of the regular season ended with not a bang, but a whimper. It was the Orioles’ 82nd win of the year, clinching their first winning season since 2016.

New York will head to Texas for the final four games of the series, which if you’ll remember were rescheduled after the start of the season was delayed a week by the lockout. If Judge does reach 62 homers, it’ll have to be at spacious Globe Life Field. Luis Severino will take the mound to face the resurgent Rangers lefty Martín Pérez. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm ET, so be sure to join us in the game thread.

Box Score