Fortunately for them, they had a worthy replacement that has been way better than the man he is filling in for: Clay Holmes.
The sinker-slider reliever, who came to the Yankees in last year’s trade deadline, is having an utterly dominant season so far and has run away with the Yankees’ closer gig.
“Clay Holmes since April 9: 29 IP, 0 R, 31 K, 14 H, 3 BB, 10 S,” Max Goodman of SI.com tweeted.
Clay Holmes since April 9:
29 IP, 0 R, 31 K, 14 H, 3 BB, 10 S
— Max Goodman (@MaxTGoodman) June 15, 2022
Since April 9, Holmes has completed 29 scoreless innings with 31 strikeouts, just three walks, and 10 saves.
Those are video-game numbers for a pitcher that seemed unable to throw strikes consistently back when he was with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
A Career Transformation Occurred Once He Landed With The Yankees
Since he made his MLB debut with Pittsburgh in 2018, until he was traded to the Yanks last July, Holmes’ lowest ERA was the 4.93 he had in 2021 in 42 innings.
But the Yankees refined his arsenal and instructed him to throw the ball in the zone and let the natural movement of his pitches do the talking, and he took off.
Sometimes, simple things are the best, most elegant, and most efficient.
Watching Holmes paint the strike zone with 97-mph turbo-sinkers and impossible sliders is a thing of beauty.
Now, with Chapman on his way back to New York (he should be ready to return in the next few days), manager Aaron Boone has an interesting decision on his hands.
Does he go back to his nominal closer, or will he respect the fact that Holmes has earned ninth-inning duties?
We will find out soon enough.