Ed Rosario

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Aroldis Chapman is pitching himself out of a job

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Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman looked shaky again last night, coming in to the game with a three-run lead before allowing a two-run homer to the Mets’ Amed Rosario. He would nail down the save eventually, giving Sonny Gray his first win as a Yankee, but Chapman’s struggles were the talk of the game afterward.

It was the third appearance in a row in which Chapman has given up at least one run, allowing five runs on three hits — two of them homers — and walking four in his last three and a third innings pitched. He’s also hit a batter. That’s just the most acute portion of a long slide, however. He posted a 0.79 ERA in his first 12 appearances this year, before getting shelled twice and then going on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, missing over a month. Since returning he’s allowed 12 runs — ten earned — in 23 appearances, breaking out to a 4.09 ERA. He’s also walked ten batters in that time. At present, his strikeout rate is the worst he’s featured since 2010. His walk rate is up and he’s allowing more hits per nine innings than he ever has.

It’s possible that he’s still suffering from shoulder problems. Whether or not that’s an issue, he looks to have a new health concern as he appeared to tweak his hamstring on the game’s final play last night when he ran over to cover first base. Chapman told reporters after the game that “it’s nothing to worry about,” and Joe Girardi said that Chapman would not undergo an MRI or anything, but he was clearly grimacing as he came off the mound and it’s something worth watching.

Also worth watching: Dellin Betances and David Robertson, Chapman’s setup men who have each shined as Yankees closers in the past and who may very soon find themselves closing once again if Chapman can’t figure it out. And Chapman seems to know it. He was asked if he still deserves to be the closer after the game. His answer:

“My job is to be ready to pitch everyday. As far as where I pitch, that’s not up to me. If at some point they need to remove me from the closer’s position, I’m always going to be ready to pitch.”

That’s a team-first answer, and for that Chapman should be lauded. But it’s also one that suggests Chapman himself knows he’s going to be out of a closer’s job soon if he doesn’t turn things around.

And That Happened: Friday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the rest of Friday’s scores and highlights:

Yankees 5, Red Sox 4: Aaron Hicks found Addison Reed‘s weak spot on Friday, working a full count before unleashing a 335-foot bomb off of Reed’s slider:

The homer uncorked a five-run rally in the eighth inning, giving the Yankees just enough fuel to outpace the Red Sox and spoil the lofty plans John Farrell had for his new setup man.

Mets 7, Phillies 6: Dominic Smith may have had a whirlwind rise to the big leagues, but he delivered with all the poise of a professional Major Leaguer on Friday, collecting his first MLB hit off of the Phillies’ Nick Pivetta in the fourth inning.

He wasn’t the only rookie to steal the show, as the Mets’ go-ahead run was delivered by No. 1 prospect Amed Rosario with his first career homer in the ninth:

Pirates 4, Blue Jays 2: The Pirates found some equilibrium behind Jameson Taillon‘s big night, reaching .500 for the first time in August and sitting just three games back of the division lead. Taillon couldn’t hang on as long as opposing starter Marcus Stroman, who let four unearned runs slip through the cracks over eight innings, but emerged with the win after six innings of two-run, seven-strikeout ball.

Indians 5, Rays 0: It’s been almost exactly five years since the Rays found themselves on the wrong end of a no-hitter, and on Friday, they narrowly avoided another such incident with Carlos Carrasco. Carrasco blanked Tampa bay through 6 2/3 spotless innings, striking out seven batters before Logan Morrison prevailed with a line drive in the seventh.

It isn’t the first attempt Carrasco has made against the Rays — his first was in July 2015 — but completing a nine-inning no-no would put him in rare company, as no Indians’ pitcher has managed the feat since Len Barker’s perfect game in 1981.

Marlins 6, Rockies 3: Giancarlo Stanton became the first Major Leaguer to reach 40 home runs this season, mashing another solo shot off of Jon Gray in the eighth inning:

Given Aaron Judge‘s compelling case for Rookie of the Year, not to mention the blistering pace at which Mike Moustakas and Cody Bellinger have been collecting homers, Stanton may not be atop the leaderboard for long. His knock helped decide the game on Friday, however, as the Marlins capitalized on their slugger’s efforts to rout the Rockies with a three-run spread in the eighth. They’ll look for their first win streak since July 29 on Saturday.

Twins 9, Tigers 4: The Twins steamrolled their division rivals with their sixth straight win, eclipsing both the Angels and Mariners to slide into the second American League wild card spot. While it wasn’t Kyle Gibson’s finest night (five hits, three runs, two walks and six strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings), a solid backing from the bullpen and a steady stream of run support gave the team the boost they needed to top the fourth-place Tigers.

Rangers 6, Astros 4: A sharp comebacker struck Cole Hamels in the left knee during Friday’s contest, but the Rangers’ left-hander powered through the pain to complete seven scoreless frames and hand the Astros their fourth consecutive loss of the week. Credit for the assist goes to Adrian Beltre, who helped pad the Rangers’ lead with an RBI double and coordinated his defensive efforts with Elvis Andrus by shoving his teammate in the face:

Reds 11, Brewers 10: No lead is safe until the game is over, and never was that illustrated better than during the Reds’ nail-biter on Friday night. They constructed an eight-run lead by the fourth inning, then watched it implode during the Brewers’ seven-run rally in the sixth with a handful of RBI singles and Eric Thames‘ 26th home run of the year. Jonathan Villar‘s ninth-inning blast brought Milwaukee to the cusp of a much-needed win, but Raisel Iglesias managed to strand Thames on first base and hang on for his 20th save.

White Sox 6, Royals 3: If Reynaldo Lopez was feeling jittery during his Major League debut, he masked it well. The 23-year-old rookie played it cool against the Royals, subduing the competition with four hits, two runs, three walks and six strikeouts. Mike Moustakas proved his one and only foil, delivering not one, but two solo home runs in the fourth and sixth innings to put the Royals on the board. With the loss, the Royals have taken five consecutive losses and nine in their last 11 games.

Cardinals 8, Braves 5: The Cardinals’ Rally Kitten has been officially recovered, as confirmed by the St. Louis Feral Cat Outreach on Friday, and the Cardinals are looking similarly revived after taking a decisive win over the Braves during their series opener. Well, perhaps “revived” is the wrong word. The win marked the Cardinals’ seventh consecutive victory, their longest streak of the year and enough to keep them within one game of the division-leading Cubs. Adam Wainwright pulled off an impressive win despite failing to register a single strikeout or throw a ball faster than 90 MPH, and clocked the competition with four hits, a run and three walks over five innings.

Cubs 8, Diamondbacks 3: Speaking of the Cubs, they’re looking to reverse their fortunes after dropping three back-to-back-to-back series against the Diamondbacks, Nationals and Giants. They returned to Chase Field for a little revenge on Friday, blurring Taijuan Walker‘s pitching line with five innings of five-run, two-homer ball and handing John Lackey his 10th win of the season. It was a reassuring effort for the defending champs, who lost starting catcher Wilson Contreras to a four-week DL stint earlier in the day.

Angels 6, Mariners 5: The Mariners had plenty to celebrate on Friday night, from the kickoff of Edgar Martinez Weekend to Nelson Cruz‘s three extra bases, but still couldn’t find that elusive final run in their one-run loss to the Angels. Righty reliever Andrew Moore singlehandedly unraveled Seattle’s four-run lead in the seventh, blowing his first save of the season after RBI singles from Albert Pujols and C.J. Cron and an Andrelton Simmons’ double helped the Angels tie the game. Cron retuned for the go-ahead run in the ninth, capitalizing on an error from Jean Segura to plate Mike Trout and move within a game of the second AL wild card.

Athletics 5, Orioles 4: It was a bittersweet way to kick off the weekend for Ubaldo Jimenez, who registered a season-best 11 strikeouts before a line drive felled him in the sixth inning:

While he didn’t appear to be in a great deal of pain at the time of the incident, he was removed from the mound immediately following the at-bat and left the rest of the game in the less-than-capable hands of Baltimore’s bullpen. Brad Brach registered his fifth blown save of the year after a two-run effort from Jed Lowrie and Chad Pinder, whose combined productivity got the job done for the A’s in the eighth.

Padres 4, Dodgers 3: There are some moments that remind us how pure this game can be, how simple the thrill is of taking in a game at the ballpark, looking up from your seat and watching one of your heroes seamlessly execute a routine play:

Other plays, like Yasiel Puig‘s 270-foot laser to catch Hunter Renfroe at home plate, offer the crowd a less intimate (but no less impressive) view of the game:

(And honestly, at 96 MPH, this is a play that belongs nowhere near the stands.)

Despite their run-saving acrobatics in the field, the Dodgers took home a rare loss after Jose Pirela unleashed a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning. The win moved San Diego within 13 games of an NL wild card spot, but they’ll still have to vault over seven other teams to earn a chance to compete in the postseason.

Giants, Nationals (postponed): The Giants and Nats are set for a twin bill on Sunday, when the two teams will do their best not to repeat the Hunter Strickland/Bryce Harper fracas that disrupted their last meeting.

Mets to promote Dominic Smith on Friday

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Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that the Mets will promote first base prospect Dominic Smith from Triple-A Las Vegas to the majors on Friday.

Smith, 22, is the Mets’ No. 2 prospect behind Amed Rosario, according to MLB Pipeline. At Triple-A this season, Smith hit .330/.386/.519 with 16 home runs and 76 RBI in 500 plate appearances. He is also well-regarded for his defense at first base.

The Mets recently traded Lucas Duda to the Rays and Jay Bruce to the Indians, opening up more space for the Mets’ younger players. Despite struggling, Rosario has played every day at shortstop since being called up at the beginning of the month. Smith, too, should see regular playing time at first base.