Control problems and shoulder inflammation send Aroldis Chapman to DL

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Aroldis Chapman was unable to throw strikes again yesterday, allowing four runs in his fourth straight ugly outing, and rather than let him travel deeper down the Steve Blass/Rick Ankiel path the Reds have placed him on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation.

Chapman’s velocity has been inconsistent and mostly down all season, so it’s very possible shoulder problems are truly to blame for his recent struggles, but walking 12 of the past 19 batters he’s faced while allowing 10 runs and recording just five outs is plenty scary even if the inflammation is minor.

Dusty Baker previously dismissed the possibility of sending Chapman to Triple-A, so instead he’ll likely be shut down for a couple weeks and then asked to pitch in the minors during a rehab assignment before rejoining the Reds’ bullpen.

Last season in 13 innings Chapman allowed three earned runs and walked five batters. This season in 13.1 innings Chapman has allowed 10 earned runs and walked 20 batters.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves