Clay Holmes emerges as the Yankees’ second seamen

The torch was not passed on. At the moment it is shared.

After Yankees manager Aaron Boone used Clay Holmes to secure a second straight win, he declined to anoint him as the team’s new closer despite Aroldis Chapman’s consistency issues.

“I want him on big courts, especially against some of the best right-handers in this game and I still have Chappy down there who’s an elite closer and other guys that we trust on any given day can go out there and finish a game,” Boone said after the Yankees’ 7-5 win over the White Sox on Saturday, which opened the way to a six-game homestand. “No, I don’t do anything permanently. This is just a case from today.”

Boone said there were a few circumstances that led to him going to see Holmes. Chicago’s big right-handers Luis Robert and Jose Abreu came at him and the Yankees are facing a double-header on Sunday, so he was able to save Chapman in that sense.

Clay Holmes
Clay Holmes

“It’s something I believe all of us down there are capable of,” Holmes said. “I have a chance to help the team win, no matter what the role, in what inning. I just want to go out there and put a zero up there.”

Chapman hasn’t missed a save in nine chances this season and has a 2.63 ERA, but he has a high WHIP of 1.46 and has given up runs in four straight games. He last served on Tuesday, in a game where he nearly flew against the Orioles by giving up three hits and an earned run in an inning of work.

Holmes, on the other hand, was nearly flawless. He retired the final four batters of Saturday’s game for his fourth career save, all coming this season. The game extended his scoreless streak to 21 innings, the longest this season in the major leagues. It is also the longest by a Yankees relief since David Robertson pitched 26¹/₃ consecutive scoreless innings from September 2011 to April 2012.

“He was something special, probably as good as it’s been in the league so far,” Boone said of Holmes, who has a .42 ERA and a .69 WHIP over 21 ²/₃ innings. “I can not imagine that [anyone] be better.” Clay Holmes emerges as the Yankees’ second seamen


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