Aroldis Chapman failed to record an out last night for the second straight appearance, issuing three walks and hitting a batter before being yanked by manager Dusty Baker.
Chapman had tons of success in April despite frequently displaying diminished (for him, at least) velocity, allowing zero earned runs through his first 12 games.
However, he’s now given up six runs while recording just three outs in his last three appearances, walking or plunking nine of the 14 batters he faced.
Baker downplayed Chapman’s control problems somewhat and also made it clear that demoting him to the minors is not something being considered by the Reds, telling John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer:
Chapman is struggling some to find the plate. We’ve got to find a way to get his mechanics back in the sync. He’s throwing the ball great. It’s a matter of throwing strikes. We’ll figure it out.
Fay reports that Jose Arredondo is close to coming off the disabled list after the former Angels setup man missed all of last season following Tommy John surgery, at which point the Reds’ bullpen hierarchy could change considerably. Chapman may not be headed to Triple-A, but demoting him to mop-up man for a while presumably isn’t out of the question.
The magic number to clinch a wild card spot is still 1, but the Mets have at least secured a wild card tie after defeating the Phillies 5-1 on Friday night.
Jay Bruce powered the offensive drive, going 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI singles and his 33rd home run of the season, ripped from an Alec Asher fastball in the seventh inning. On the mound, right-hander Robert Gsellman limited the Phillies to seven hits and one run over six frames, striking out seven batters in his eighth appearance of the year. Behind him, a cadre of Mets relievers turned out three scoreless innings to preserve the lead and anchor the Mets in the wild card standings.
The Cardinals aren’t out of the race quite yet, and can still force a tiebreaker with the Mets if they manage to win the remainder of their games this weekend and the Mets lose the rest of theirs. Any other scenario will ensure the Mets’ exclusive rights to a wild card spot next week. While a wild card clinch is unlikely to happen tonight, with St. Louis leading Pittsburgh 7-0 through 7.5 innings and just entering a rain delay, it remains a distinct possibility over these next two days.
In a season that boasts the likes of Max Scherzer (he of the 20-strikeout masterpiece) and Clayton Kershaw (he of nine separate games with at least 10 strikeouts), there hasn’t been anyone who’s done exactly what Carlos Rodon did this week.
During Friday’s series opener against the Twins, Rodon retired seven consecutive batters via strikeout. His streak — and the beginnings of a perfect game, if you can call it that after just 2 ⅓ frames — ended on a Logan Schafer double that found right field well before Rodon managed to put up two strikes. With seven consecutive strikeouts, Rodon became the first American League pitcher to strike out seven batters to start a game since right-hander Joe Cowley did it for the Sox back in 1986. Had Schafer whiffed on a couple more fastballs, Rodon would have tied Mets’ starter Jacob deGrom for most strikeouts to start a game in major league history.
Not only did Rodon manage to quell the first seven batters in Minnesota’s lineup, but he extended his strikeout streak to 10 consecutive batters dating back through his last start against the Cleveland Indians. Per MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger, the last major league pitcher to do so was reliever Eric Gagne, who accomplished the feat for the 2003 Dodgers during his first and only Cy Young Award-winning season.
Any way you slice it, this is an impressive look: