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.
ESPN reports via the Associated Press that a young boy was struck by a line drive foul ball but was not seriously injured during Sunday afternoon’s game against the Royals. The boy and a woman were escorted by a first aid crew to the concourse area and the boy was later eating ice cream in a luxury suite.
A woman was struck in the face by a foul ball also on the first base side at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday, but she didn’t request medical assistance.
Last week, a young fan at Yankee Stadium was hit by a line drive foul ball, which motivated several teams to commit to extending protective netting at their ballparks. The Yankees, strangely, were not among them. Nor were the White Sox.
Losses by the Cardinals to the Pirates and the Brewers to the Cubs on Sunday clinched an NL Wild Card berth for the Diamondbacks. Their walk-off, 3-2 win over the Marlins earned them hosting rights for the Wild Card game.
The D-Backs, now 90-66, trailed the Marlins 2-1 going into the bottom of the eighth. Daniel Descalso tied the game at two apiece with an RBI single off of Brad Ziegler. Second half hero J.D. Martinez secured the win with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth against Javy Guerra.
The Rockies beat the Padres on Sunday to increase their lead over the Brewers (+2) and Cardinals (+2.5) for the second Wild Card slot. One of these three teams will visit Arizona for the Wild Card game.
The Diamondbacks are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2011, when they lost the Division Series in five games to the Brewers.