The good thing with Aroldis Chapman is, you know after one pitch which Chapman you are going to get. So you know the outcome before it happens.
Either you get Good Chapman who blows away hitters with his fastball. Or you get Bad Chapman who cannot find the strike zone with GPS, a map, a telescope, and a guide dog.
The bad thing with Aroldis Chapman is, when Bad Chapman shows up, the game is over and there’s nothing you can do about it. Last night, Bad Chapman showed up. And the Rangers propensity for blowing saves tagged along.
Having entered the game in the bottom of the ninth with a 2-1 lead, Chapman’s first pitch to the Mariners leadoff hitter Cal Raleigh was low and outside, missing the strike zone by inches. It was then you realized this was not going to end well. Bad Chapman was here. Just wait for the collapse. It’s coming.
Chapman has an ego bigger than the radar reading on his fastball. He wants to strike out every hitter. He overthrows every pitch. When he’s on, it’s an asset. When he’s off, it’s an ass whipping.
When his control leaves him, he tends to compensate by trying too hard to throw pitches right over the plate. His ego wants to strike you out. Those pitches usually miss the strike zone. But when they do, they don’t miss bats. They flatten out. And usually result in home runs. Last night, they were just singles.
When Bad Chapman shows up, his ego kicks into overdrive and he scatters wild pitches. He has no control over his pitches.
After three batters, he gave up a single, a single, a wild pitch, and a walk. He was taken out of the game with bases loaded, having gotten nobody out. Jonathan Hernandez was brought in and asked to do the impossible. Get out of it.
He got the first batter out. He got the second batter out. The third batter hit one over Evan Carter’s head for a two-run single that gave the Mariners a win in a game they absolutely had to win.
It gave them something more. Hope. And swagger. And confidence.
One hundred and fifty-nine games into the season, Bruce Bochy still doesn’t have a bullpen he can count on.
Chapman most of all.