Reds closer Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the ninth inning last night against the Pirates to finish off his 20th save of the season. And he made some history in the process.
Chapman now holds the MLB record with at least one strikeout in 40 consecutive relief appearances. The streak dates back to last season. The previous record was held by Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter, who went 39 consecutive appearances with a strikeout in 1977. Former Dodgers closer Eric Gagne had 35 straight appearances with a strikeout from 2003-2014. Chapman is also fourth on the list, as he went 34 consecutive appearances with a strikeout from 2011-2012. But now he’s the top dog.
Chapman got a late start on the season after he was hit in the face by a comebacker during spring training, but he has been nothing short of sensational since returning. Averaging 100 mph (!) on his fastball, he has a 2.20 ERA over 28 2/3 innings to go along with a 57/10 K/BB ratio. Just to put things in perspective, Chapman has faced 108 batters this season. He has struck out 52.8 percent of them. That’s insane.