Aroldis Chapman had to agree: It was pretty smart of Joe Girardi to go to him for a five-out save in Sunday night’s 1-0 victory over the Indians in Game 3 of the ALDS.
Chapman, who apologized to his manager Saturday after accidentally “liking” an Instagram post that called Girardi “a complete imbecile,” did his talking with a fastball that twice reached 104 miles per hour as the Yankees staved off elimination.
Chapman entered the game with a runner on first and one out in the eighth. He struck out Yan Gomes and Giovanny Urshela, both on 102-mph heaters.
In the ninth, Chapman faced the top of the Cleveland order. He struck out Francisco Lindor on a 101-mph fastball before Jason Kipnis grounded a single to center.
Jose Ramirez followed with a grounder to third on which Todd Frazier made a diving stop. But Frazier dropped the ball as he transferred it from glove to hand and was unable to throw to second for a forceout. It was scored a single.
Chapman struck out Jay Bruce on a 100-mph fastball for the second out. He got to 3-and-2 on Carlos Santana before the Indians’ first baseman hit a 101-mph fastball to centerfield for the final out of the game.
“This was a decisive game,” Chapman said through a translator. “You can’t go back. Everything you have, you have to go out there and give it up. Without tonight, there’s no tomorrow.”
Earlier in the day, Girardi said he accepted Chapman’s explanation that he had accidentally “liked” the disparaging Instagram post. Chapman “unliked” it as soon as he learned his action had caused an internet frenzy after Girardi’s rough night in the Yankees’ extra-inning loss in Game 2.
“I was checking my social media,” Chapman said. “By accident, I hit the ‘like’ button on one of those comments. I spoke to Joe. I told him it was an accident when I was scrolling through the phone . . . To be clear here, I’m 100 percent behind my manager and behind my teammates. I completely disagree with that statement and any negative statements.”
Chapman, who threw two scoreless innings Friday and 34 pitches Sunday, said he would “do everything I can to be ready” to pitch in Monday’s Game 4.
“If we don’t win [Monday], there’s no Game 5,” Chapman said. “So whatever I can do to be ready to pitch, I’ll do it.”