Aroldis Chapman stood on the mound in complete disbelief as baseball's littlest big man, Jose Altuve, trotted around the bases after sending the Houston Astros to the World Series with a walk-off, ninth-inning home run.
As Altuve's blast sailed into the left-center field stands on Saturday night, electrifying the crowd of 43,357 in attendance at Minute Maid Park, the New York Yankees closer couldn't do anything but smile.
Chapman didn't grin because he was happy for Altuve. It was merely all he could muster up as he stood on the mound realizing the Yankees' season was over.
"That is so stupid," Chapman told ESPN's Marly Rivera about anyone who thought he was laughing after giving up the homer. "How can anyone possibly think that? ... I was simply in shock. I couldn't believe that happened."
Chapman then lost his ability to find the strike zone, walking George Springer on five pitches before falling behind to Altuve. After realizing Chapman had no feel for his fastball and letting a 2-0 slider fly past him for a strike, the Astros second baseman sat on the southpaw's slider. He got what he was looking for with the next pitch and launched it into the stands for his fifth home run of the postseason.
"To lose the game like that is frustrating," Chapman said through a translator, according to YES Network. "I fell behind in the count. I wanted to get ahead with the slider and it didn't land in the spot where I wanted. He took full advantage of that."
Chapman said he didn't think about pitching more carefully to Altuve, knowing Jake Marisnick was on deck.
"For me, every time I go out there it's going to be a battle," Chapman said. "It doesn't matter if it's the best or the worst hitter in the league I'm always going to go out there and challenge that hitter."
With Saturday's loss, the Yankees have gone ten years without winning a pennant, making the 2010s the first decade since the 1910s in which they haven't reached a World Series.
The contest could also spell the end of Chapman's career with the Yankees. The 31-year-old Cuban has an opt-out in his contract, which he is expected to use.