After thoroughly dominating major league hitters over the first two months of the season, Aroldis Chapman finally gave up his first earned run tonight against the Pirates. And it was courtesy of some unlikely contributors.
Chapman entered the game with the score tied in the 10th inning. He quickly gave up a leadoff ground-rule double to Clint Barmes, who entered tonight’s action with a miserable .188/.211/.305 batting line over his first 50 games this season. It was actually the first hit Chapman had allowed since May 17, a span of 8 2/3 innings. Then Michael McKenry, who entered play tonight with a .207/.271/.326 career batting line, punched a 99 mph fastball to the right-center field gap for another double which plated Barmes with the go-ahead run. The Pirates ended up winning the game 5-4. Baseball sure is a funny game sometimes.
Chapman previously gave up an unearned run against the Mets back on May 17, but the Cuban left-hander had a perfect 0.00 ERA through 29 innings this season until McKenry’s run-scoring double. It was the first time he had allowed an earned run in a major league game since last September 10, a span of 35 innings and 29 appearances.
The Reds have sent second baseman Scooter Gennett in for an MRI exam after he was forced to make an early departure from Friday’s 6-4 loss to the Brewers. The exact nature of the injury has yet to be reported, but starting pitcher Robert Stephenson said Gennett may have hurt himself after he “rolled weird” while trying to rein in a ground ball. He appeared to be grabbing at his right thigh/groin area immediately afterward and was helped off the field.
Following the incident, the 28-year-old was swiftly replaced by veteran infielder Carlos Rivero, who went hitless as he finished out the game. Though Gennett went 0-for-1 in his lone at-bat on Friday, he’s been tearing through the Cactus League competition this spring with a .351/.405/.486 batting line in 42 plate appearances so far.
The extent of Gennett’s injuries have not been disclosed — and may still be unknown to the team as well — but any significant setback would undoubtedly throw a wrench in the Reds’ plans this season, as he was the presumed starter at the keystone after turning in his first All-Star worthy performance in 2018. Although they have a promising alternative in top infield/outfield prospect Nick Senzel, the 23-year-old has not seen any time at second base this year and was recently reassigned to Triple-A Louisville to start the 2019 season.
Update, 3/23: Gennett has been diagnosed with a right groin strain and will miss 8-12 weeks in recovery, the Reds said Saturday. Per The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans, José Peraza and José Iglesias will cover second base and shortstop, respectively, with Kyle Farmer staying on as a backup option. Senzel will remain in Triple-A and continue his development as a center fielder.