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.
In case you missed it over the weekend, the New York Yankees suffered yet another huge blow when another huge star went on the injured list. The star: Aaron Judge, who strained his oblique during Saturday’s 9-2 win over the Royals.
Yesterday the Yankees placed him on the injured list. In so doing, Yankees manager Aaron Boone called it a “pretty significant strain in there.” The team did not offer a timeline, but Boone said they’ll monitor Judge for a couple of weeks to see where he is. Oblique strains, however, can cause a player to miss a lot of time. Four to six weeks is not unheard of for even moderate oblique strains. Guys with major strains have missed months.
Judge is the Yankees’ 13th player currently on the injured list and is the 14th Yankees player to visit it overall on the young season. Joining him there at the moment :
It’s an All-Star team’s worth of injuries. It’s such a good group of players that Ellsbury couldn’t even make the starting lineup of the all-injured team.
Though we often ignore it in season-long narratives of successful and unsuccessful teams, choosing to focus on great or poor performances, the fact of the matter is that team health is almost always a big, big factor in who wins and who loses. No one is going to cry for the Yankees here, of course, but at some point there are just too many injuries to overcome. One has to wonder if New York has reached that point yet.