Something obviously wasn’t right with Reds closer Aroldis Chapman when he walked all four batters he faced Sunday and sure enough he was unavailable last night due to what the team is calling an “achy” shoulder.
Here’s what manager Bryan Price told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com:
He’s just a little achy and it just doesn’t make sense at all for us to keep running him out there. He was a little achy [Sunday]. I didn’t want to say anything but he was. By the time we knew there might be an issue, the damage was done yesterday. Our trainers say it’s a day-to-day thing and that he could be ready to go soon. I’m not crossing him off our list for tomorrow by any means.
For whatever it’s worth, Chapman averaged 99.5 miles per hour with his fastball in Sunday’s walk-fest, topping out at 101.5 mph. It was just the second time in this season’s 39 appearances that Chapman walked more than one batter and prior to walking four consecutive batters he’d walked a total of four batters in his previous 11 appearances, spanning 11 innings with a 0.84 ERA, .125 opponents’ batting average, and 20/4 K/BB ratio.
Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $125,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $15,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on Tuesday. Here’s the FanDuel link.
Cardinals right-hander Luke Weaver has been reassigned to the bullpen, manager Mike Shildt announced Sunday. Fellow righty Daniel Poncedeleon will take his spot in the rotation for the time being, though it’s still unclear whether Weaver’s demotion is a permanent one or not.
Still, it’s not the most surprising of moves, especially as the club advances toward a potential playoff berth in October. Weaver, 24, has struggled to find his groove this season after putting up a 6-11 record in 24 starts and a 4.67 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2018. During two of his last three outings in August, he was pulled before the fifth inning, citing mechanical issues with his delivery that may be impacting his fastball location and delivery and having an adverse effect on his results — and those of the team — as well.
Poncedeleon, on the other hand, appears primed to take on more responsibility following an impressive run with the Cardinals this summer. He maintained a sub-3.00 ERA through his first six appearances, issuing four runs, nine walks, and 10 strikeouts over 17 2/3 innings. While he hasn’t handled more than one start in the big leagues, his track record in the minors speaks to his ability to get consistent results on the mound: he went 9-3 in 17 starts at Triple-A Memphis with a 2.15 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 10.1 SO/9 across 92 innings. He’s scheduled to cover for Weaver on Tuesday against the Pirates and will presumably continue to pitch out of the rotation for the remaining six weeks of the season.