While the rest of the Yankees struggled to find their groove earlier in the season, there was one notable exception, and he was going as strong as ever on Sunday afternoon.
With a perfect ninth inning in relief of Corey Kluber, Aroldis Chapman notched his sixth save in as many attempts in what has been a month of complete dominance. During that time, he’s used all three of his pitches — including his new splitter — to great effect, has consistently hit over 100 mph with his fastball and has plowed through opposing lineups with clock-like reliability.
"I think my command, my control and mixing my pitches" has been the key, Chapman said through an interpreter. "Overall [I’m] just commanding the zone, and controlling the strike zone has been the key for me."
His fWAR is third on the team, behind Gerrit Cole and Aaron Judge, and his other numbers have been equally impressive: In 10 shutout innings over 10 games in which he has allowed two hits and three walks, he’s faced 35 batters and struck out 24.
"He definitely makes sure he’s in and around the zone frequently," catcher Kyle Higashioka said. "He’s throwing a ton of strikes, and when he’s in the zone it’s kind of, ‘Good luck.’ "
Kluber and Chapman struck out 12 on Sunday. The Yankees struck out 43 in the three-game series. Starting pitchers Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon and Kluber allowed one run, nine hits and four walks in 19 innings, striking out 30.
Urshela at shortstop
Gio Urshela got his second shot at shortstop this season, taking the place of a resting Gleyber Torres. Aaron Boone said that in a pinch, he is comfortable using him there in the future and having Tyler Wade come off the bench to substitute as necessary.
"I’m confident if you hit it to him, he’ll make the play," Boone said. "I really value what Tyler brings at different points in the game . . . There’s a real dynamic he brings, that different versatility off the bench, it’s really, really good. I could have started him today, thought about it, but like his role coming off the bench in some targeted situations."
Voit inching back
Luke Voit (knee) is set to begin a rehab assignment at some point this week, Boone said.