NEW YORK -- The third pitch of Albertin Chapman's ninth-inning showdown with Rafael Devers zipped toward home plate at 102.1 mph, and the Red Sox rookie barely made contact, tipping it foul. The next fastball came in just a little bit hotter, and it never made it to catcher Gary
NEW YORK -- The third pitch of Albertin Chapman's ninth-inning showdown with Rafael Devers zipped toward home plate at 102.1 mph, and the Red Sox rookie barely made contact, tipping it foul. The next fastball came in just a little bit hotter, and it never made it to catcher Gary Sanchez's glove.
Chapman jerked his neck and watched that heater rocket into the visiting bullpen, the fastest pitch cracked for a home run since MLB began officially tracking velocity in 2008. It was the fourth blown save in 19 chances for Chapman, who took the loss in the Yankees' 3-2, 10-inning setback vs. Boston on Sunday.
"I have high expectations of myself," Chapman said. "The last couple of outings haven't been what I would like them to be. You definitely feel bad when you lose a game. You put that on your shoulders."
Though manager Joe Girardi quickly reiterated that Chapman "is my closer," the Yanks fell 5 1/2 games back in the American League East race as Devers became just the second left-handed batter to homer off the flamethrower, joining Luke Scott, who did it for the Orioles back on June 26, 2011.
"It's a frustrating loss. There's no doubt about it," Girardi said. 'We were in position to win. I actually thought Chappy in the ninth threw the ball really well. He made a mistake. It happens. I thought his stuff was really good tonight. He made one mistake that cost us."
In the 10th, Chapman drilled Jackie Bradley Jr. with an 0-2 fastball, and that accounted for the deciding run when Bradley scored on Andrew Benintendi's RBI single off Tommy Kahnle.
Chapman has now allowed runs in 10 of his 36 appearances this season, including four of six outings against the Red Sox.
"The key here is to keep fighting," Chapman said. "You've got to keep fighting. We've got to keep our heads up and keep fighting."
The Yankees believed that adding Kahnle and Player Page for David Robertson prior to the non-waiver Trade Deadline would bolster a bullpen that has now blown 20 saves as a unit, second in the Majors only to the Mariners (22).
"I think that can be a misleading number," Girardi said, referencing blown saves that are recorded in innings earlier than the ninth. "It sounds like it's 20 in the ninth. That would be an issue."
Still, Chapman has been a weak link of late. His last three appearances have been eventful, beginning with an Aug. 5 save at Cleveland in which Girardi thought he looked "rusty."
In Friday's game against Boston, Chapman walked the bases loaded before Aaron Hicks' arm bailed him out with a double play that nailed Eduardo Nunez at third base.
Yankees infielder Chase Headley said that he does not believe Chapman looks markedly different than he did last year, when he posted a 2.01 ERA and 12.6 strikeouts per nine innings in 31 appearances before being traded to the Cubs.
"Sometimes you have to tip your cap," Headley said. "It's 102 mph, and the guy hits an opposite-field homer over 399 [feet]. It's an impressive swing. I'll take my chances with him out there. We've got his back. He's going through a little bit of a rough patch but that's part of baseball. He's going to get out of it. I have no doubt."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.