The Aroldis Chapman Era begins on Sept. 1

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John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Reds will call up top pitching prospect Aroldis Chapman from Triple-A Louisville on September 1.  Why not sooner?  Well, here’s what manager Dusty Baker told Fay and the Enquirer on Wednesday:

“Who do you take off (the roster)?” Baker said. “It would be somebody else who
pitched well. Everyone in the bullpen is throwing excellent. … That’s
not a good message to our guys here when you perform well and get sent
out. They’re looking over their shoulder for fear of getting sent out. I
want them looking at the prize at the end, not looking behind them.”

Chapman, of course, was inked to a five-year, $30 million contract in January.  He has spent most of 2010 as a starter, but the Reds shifted him to relief when it became apparent that he wasn’t going to be needed in the rotation this season. 

The move, so far, has worked brilliantly.  The 22-year-old Chapman has fanned 41 batters and tallied a 2.77 ERA in 26 innings out of the bullpen.  He should give a nice shot of energy to the Reds down the stretch.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.