Aroldis Chapman worked as a starter in spring training before Ryan Madson got hurt and the Reds decided to leave him in the bullpen, where he saved 38 games with a 1.51 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 72 innings during his first season as a closer.
Three years and 137 appearances into his big-league career Chapman has never started a game for the Reds, but general manager Walt Jocketty told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com that they still haven’t ruled out shifting him into the rotation:
We haven’t made a decision on Chapman as a starter or as a reliever. We’re talking about it. It depends on if we re-sign [Jonathan] Broxton and Madson. Or if we get another closer.
Chapman has been so dominant as a reliever that it’s no doubt tempting to just leave him alone, but if the Reds think he could handle a 180-200 inning workload that would be pretty damn tempting too.
The Royals are a game and a half out of the crazy AL Wild Card race — six games back of the Indians in the division — so they don’t have a huge margin for error. They got some bad news last night, though, that could have a major impact on their playoff hopes: closer Kelvin Herrera experienced tightness in his right forearm in the ninth inning of last night’s win, forcing him out of the game.
Herrera walked the bases loaded, then went to a 2-0 count on the next batter before leaving the game. That last pitch was a fastball that clocked in at 91 m.p.h., which is NOT a typical Kelvin Herrera fastball. Herrera didn’t talk after the game but his teammate Sal Perez said that Herrera told him “I’m tight. I don’t feel my forearm.”
Reporters left the clubhouse before an official diagnosis or prognosis could be delivered, so expect an update some time today. If Herrera is out the closer duties could fall to Scott Alexander or Brandon Maurer.
Albert Pujols had a big night last night, driving in four runs as the Angels beat the Rangers 10-1. Three of those runs came on a three-run homer. That was the 610th home run of Pujols’ career, snapping a tie for eighth on the all-time list with Sammy Sosa. It also made him baseball’s all-time leader for home runs by a player born outside the U.S.
Pujols was aware of the accomplishment, of course, and noted how honored he was after the game:
”It’s pretty special. Obviously, all the great players from the Dominican Republic, Latin America, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, they’ve gone through the big leagues and to be able to accomplish something like this is very humbling.”
After Sosa, who is from the Dominican Republic, comes Rafael Palmeiro (569); Manny Ramirez (555); David Ortiz (541); Carlos Delgado (473); Jose Canseco (462); Adrian Beltre and Miguel Cabrera (459).