In the form of his video blog for ESPN.com, Buster Olney tells us that Aroldis Chapman is very close to finding his way to the major leagues.
Thanks to some recent mechanical tweaks, the Cuban left-hander has made some real strides in his transition to the bullpen for Triple-A Louisville. Chapman hasn’t allowed a run over his last 10 appearances, compiling an impressive 16/4 K/BB ratio over 11 1/3 innings.
Olney reports that Chapman’s fastball was clocked as high as 103 mph on a couple of occasions during an outing the other night. Wow. The Reds haven’t talked about promoting him recently, however general manager Walt Jocketty plans to speak with manager Dusty Baker in the days ahead, perhaps as soon as this week.
It might not happen tomorrow, but look for the Reds to call him up relatively soon. They’ll undoubtedly want him to be eligible should they make the postseason.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.