Aroldis Chapman was a mess last night, walking three of the five batters he faced after coming into a tie game in extra innings and being removed mid-inning for the first time all season.
Within that ugly performance he threw 22 pitches and none of them topped 97 miles per hour while many of Chapman’s fastballs were in the low-90s. For a guy who averages 98 miles per hour with his fastball, frequently hits triple-digits, and regularly throws his slider in the low-90s that qualifies as a red flag.
Here’s what manager Dusty Baker said afterward, via Mark Sheldon of MLB.com:
Yeah, because his velocity was down. He didn’t have any pain. He might be a little tired. We might have to rest him for a while here. He was analyzed by a doctor. The doctor said his shoulder is fatigued. We’ve got to take care of him.
Cincinnati’s big 9.5-game lead in the NL Central provides more than enough cushion to be extremely cautious with Chapman, so hopefully they take advantage. Chapman also blew a save and took a loss Friday, serving up a three-run homer among four total hits, so it seems pretty safe to say that something isn’t right.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Nationals will ask to speak with Astros’ bench coach Alex Cora after the American League Championship Series concludes on Saturday. This comes on the heels of the news that club manager Dusty Baker will not be returning to the team in 2018.
Cora, 42, has some experience in the Nationals’ organization. He played for the Nats during his last big league stint in 2011, batting .224/.287/.276 through 91 games before announcing his retirement in the spring of 2012. Per Cafardo, he was also offered a player development gig with the club, but has not appeared in any kind of official role with them since his days as a major league infielder. While he’s been lauded for his leadership skills and strong clubhouse presence, he hasn’t acquired any managerial experience since his retirement, save for a handful of games with the Astros where he filled in for A.J. Hinch.
Despite the appeal of having a familiar face in the dugout, the Nationals aren’t the only ones eyeing Cora. The Astros’ coach has already interviewed with the Tigers, Mets and Red Sox this month. Boston appears to be the current favorite to land him and according to at least one source, may even announce his hiring in advance of the World Series next Tuesday.