Aroldis Chapman made a triumphant return to the Reds’ bullpen Sunday afternoon at Great American Ball Park, earning a save and striking out three in his first appearance of the 2014 regular season. He issued a leadoff walk to Troy Tulowitzki in a 4-1 game but then rallied to fan Carlos Gonzalez, Nolan Arenado, and Justin Morneau in order.
Chapman hit 101 mph on his final pitch, and 15 of his 21 deliveries were clocked at 100 mph or higher.
The fireballing Cuban left-hander suffered fractures around his nose and left eye when he was struck by a comebacker in a March 19 spring game. He showed no shyness on the mound Sunday. Here’s the final strike, courtesy of MLB.com …
Chapman entered 2014 with a 2.40 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 324 strikeouts in 198 2/3 career innings.
The entire Marlins roster will wear the number 16 on the backs of their uniforms in remembrance of pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident on Sunday morning. After that? “No one will wear No. 16 for the Marlins again,” team owner Jeffrey Loria said on Monday evening, as Tyler Kepner of the New York Times reports.
Though Fernandez only pitched parts of four seasons for the Marlins, he already ranks fifth in career WAR in club history, according to Baseball Reference. He also owns the best career winning percentage as well as the second-lowest single-season ERA (2.19 in 2013) and the second-lowest single-season WHIP (0.979 in 2013). Fernandez was already one of the best pitchers in Marlins history and was on his way to becoming a perennial All-Star, if not a Hall of Famer.
Then add to that his outstanding personality and what he meant both to the Marlins organization and to the city of Miami. Loria has gotten a lot of criticism over the years, but he nailed it with this decision.
As Craig mentioned earlier, the Marlins will all wear No. 16 jerseys to honor pitcher Jose Fernandez, who tragically died in a boating accident on Sunday morning. It’s a fitting tribute as the Marlins return to the playing field after Sunday’s game was cancelled.
We don’t often hear about the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes on during these special circumstances. As Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports, workers at the Majestic manufacturing facility in Easton, PA — about two hours north of Philadelphia — stayed up all night Sunday night into Monday morning in order to make those custom No. 16 jerseys for the Marlins. They were shipped via air so they would arrive in time for the game tonight.
FanGraphs writer Eric Longenhagen notes how hard those Majestic employees work — often for low pay :
Kudos to Majestic for making a concerted effort to help the Marlins out in their time of need.