After hitting 102.7 mph in debut, Aroldis Chapman throws 103.9 mph in second appearance

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Aroldis Chapman made jaws drop in his MLB debut earlier this week by averaging 100.3 miles per hour on six fastballs and topping out at 102.7 mph, which tied for the highest velocity ever recorded during three seasons of MLB.com’s Pitch-F/X system.
Or at least it was the highest.
Chapman made his second appearance last night, picking up his first career victory with a scoreless inning against the Brewers, and topped out at 103.9 mph. Seriously. He also threw a pitch at 103.8 mph and averaged 102.1 mph on seven fastballs, Yes, averaged 102.1 mph.
Chapman has thrown 13 fastballs so far at an average velocity of 101.3 miles per hour. To put that in some context, here are the highest average fastball velocities since 2007:
2010: Joel Zumaya – 99.3 mph
2009: Joel Zumaya – 99.3 mph
2008: Joel Zumaya – 97.5 mph
2007: Joel Zumaya – 97.5 mph
In other words, no one throws this hard. Chapman’s career is exactly two innings long at this point, yet he’s already thrown the three fastest pitches in Pitch-F/X history and his average velocity makes the previous king of hard-throwers, Joel Zumaya, look like Jamie Moyer.
Oh, and Chapman’s high-80s slider is nasty as hell too. He threw it four times last night and got three swinging strikes. I’m really not sure how someone would go about having success against a 101-mph fastball and wicked 87-mph slider. I guess the answer is “they wouldn’t.”
As the Reds pull further and further ahead of the Cardinals in the NL Central it looks more and more like Chapman could have some Francisco Rodriguez-in-2002 potential in the playoffs.

There was another miscommunication between the Phillies and Pat Neshek

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Back in June 2017, then-manager of the Phillies Pete Mackanin and reliever Pat Neshek had some miscommunication. In a series against the Cardinals, Neshek worked a five-pitch eighth inning and it was believed he would come back out for the ninth inning, but he never did. Mackanin said Neshek said he didn’t want to pitch another inning. Neshek said he was never asked. There was also some miscommunication the game prior. Neshek thought he had the day off; Mackanin said Neshek said he wasn’t available to pitch.

Mackanin is no longer the Phillies’ manager, but the miscommunication between Neshek and the team apparently persist. Neshek was notably absent during the Phillies’ hard-fought 5-4 win over the Cubs on Monday night. The game featured a struggling Seranthony Domínguez pitching two innings, yielding three crucial runs in his second inning of work.

Manager Gabe Kapler called the bullpen and instructed Neshek to begin warming up to prepare to face Albert Almora, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Kapler rang the bullpen after Domínguez walked Jason Heyward, who batted ahead of Almora. Neshek wasn’t warmed up yet. Domínguez was able to retire Almora on a sacrifice bunt, which was reviewed and gave Neshek some extra time to get ready. He was ready for the next batter, Daniel Descalso, but at this point Kapler no longer wanted to bring Neshek into the game. Descalso lined a triple to left-center field, scoring two runs and came home himself when shortstop Jean Segura‘s throw caromed off of his foot out of play.

Recounting the situation, Neshek said, “I got on the mound and threw two pitches. [Kapler] said, ‘Is he ready?’ And I said, ‘No. I’m not ready yet. I’ve thrown two pitches.” Neshek was asked how long it takes him to get ready. The veteran said, “A minute. Not 20 seconds. I’m, like, the best in the league at getting ready. My whole career has been coming in like that.”

The Phillies were able to eke out a 5-4 win. Had they lost the game, Kapler and Neshek would likely have been under the microscope for the awkward situation leading to a crushing defeat. Kapler drew plenty of criticism over his bullpen management last year in his rookie managerial season. That included bringing in lefty reliever Hoby Milner into a game in which he hadn’t yet warmed up.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence that the manager who struggled with bullpen management last year nearly mucked up a win last night, and maybe it’s just a coincidence that a reliever who’s had prior issues with communication had another communication mix-up. Maybe it’s not. It’s worth noting that the Phillies needed three innings from the bullpen to protect a 2-1 lead over the Cubs on Tuesday. Kapler called on rookie Edgar Garcia for two outs, lefty José Álvarez for four, and then brought in Juan Nicasio to close things out in the ninth. No Neshek, even as Nicasio got into trouble. Nicasio would surrender the tying and go-ahead runs, resulting in a deflating 3-2 loss.