BOSTON — Aroldis Chapman appears to be getting himself back on track.
Chapman recorded his first save since June 26 in Sunday’s 3-0 Game 1 victory over the Red Sox.
The struggling 29-year-old closer had pitched a scoreless frame in Saturday’s 16-inning marathon after suffering the blown save and loss on Friday. Chapman produced a 7.71 ERA with three blown saves in four opportunities in 12 appearances from May 7 to Friday
On Sunday, Chapman struck out Hanley Ramirez looking and gave up a two-out single to Dustin Pedroia.
During his 21-pitch outing on Sunday, he threw seven sliders. On Friday, all 23 of his pitches were fastballs.
“The other day I had a conversation with Austin Romine about using the slider a bit more. It was good today,” Chapman said. “It’s better to mix more breaking pitches. It’s a good idea.”
Chapman will not be available for Game 2 or Monday after pitching three consecutive days.
He says he hasn’t lost confidence even during his recent rough patch. Chapman is in the first year of a five-year, $86 million deal. He’s already missed more than a month due to rotator cuff inflammation, and many have wondered if his woes are a result of being overused by Joe Maddon during last season’s Cubs’ World Series championship playoff run.
“I’ve had bad days, but my confidence is high and I’m ready to go on any given day,” Chapman said.
The Yankees made several moves before Game 1 to add help to their taxed bullpen.
Bryan Mitchell (26th man) and Domingo German were both recalled from Triple-A Scranton. Lefty Caleb Smith was also called up from the RailRiders. Jonathan Holder (three innings) and Ben Heller (two innings), who both played huge roles in the Yankees’ 4-1, 16-inning win on Saturday, were optioned back to Triple-A Scranton.
“It had nothing to do with performance,” Joe Girardi said. “It had everything to do with we need innings.”
Michael Pineda (right UCL tear) was transferred to the 60-day DL.
The Yankees used all seven of their available relievers on Saturday. They combined to throw nine scoreless innings in relief of Luis Severino.
The team also changed their starting pitching order, moving CC Sabathia up to pitch Game 1 with Masahiro Tanaka handling the nightcap. Joe Girardi is undecided as to who will start on Monday in Minnesota. It will depend on how Sunday goes. Luis Cessa will face Bartolo Colon on Tuesday.
Tyler Clippard and Chad Green, who was unavailable on Saturday, came in in relief of Sabathia on Sunday.
After playing 16 innings over 5 hours and 50 minutes on Saturday, Joe Girardi was unhappy about the fact his team had to play a day-night doubleheader on Sunday with a flight to Minnesota to come right after in advance of Monday’s game against the Twins.
“I think physically it’s dangerous for players,” Girardi said. The Yankees were set to the face the Red Sox at 1 p.m. and then 8 p.m. “And I understand. TV is so important to our game, and I understand that people want to see us. You can’t start at 6 or 7? That sort of thing? Or you can’t have the off day the next day? It is what it is and there are so many great things about being a Yankee and being a Red Sox because of your fans and the support. But sometimes, in these situations, that’s what it costs you.”
If only Saturday’s game had ended at a reasonable hour.
Brett Gardner, Chase Headley and Starlin Castro were each only expected to play one game of the doubleheader. … The Red Sox planned to file a formal protest to MLB over the wacky play in the 11th inning in Saturday’s game. They wanted Matt Holliday called for interference. “If it goes without any further attention brought to it, who’s to say (the Yankees) can’t instruct runners to do the same going forward,” John Farrell said. Farrell said Holliday had made a similar play 10 years ago. “By the letter of that rule, that player yesterday was clearly interference.”