The Chapman issue

The questioning and second-guessing of why Reds closer Aroldis Chapman isn’t used in situations of more than three outs is always sure to happen when a lead is blown in the eighth inning. Certainly it’s a valid question but it’s also a question that already has an answer, really, before it’s even asked.

Chapman, at least until it’s crunch time in a late-season pennant race will likely stay in the bullpen until the ninth inning. I don’t think it’s always so much because manager Dusty Baker and pitching coach Bryan Price are clinging hard to some cliched managerial text book that says closers can only get three out saves. I think it has a lot to do with the fact they have generally protected Chapman’s arm from overuse and been extra cautious. In 2011, Chapman missed five weeks with left shoulder inflammation and some shoulder fatigue last September had Jonathan Broxton filling in for four saves.

On Sunday during a bad loss to the Pirates — 5-4 in 11 innings — it was Broxton in the game for the eighth and he blew it. Broxton got a double play for two outs and faced lefty-hitting Garrett Jones. On a 2-1 cutter, Jones turned on it quick and hit a mammoth homer that actually landed in the Allegheny River.

“Well, it’s a manager’s decision,” Baker said when asked today. “You can’t put in Chapman all the time. I was saving Chapman [to save] the win. It’s easy now to say [he should have faced Jones].”

For Chapman to have been ready for Jones there, he likely would have had to be up from the start of that inning. To do that every time would be a lot to put on an arm they’re trying to protect from wearing out or breaking down.


Other items:

*The Reds had a 4-0 lead and never added on. The Pirates bullpen worked 10-straight scoreless innings. You can read more about that here in my game story. Click here.

*Lots of hit by pitches in this game as Shin-Soo Choo and Starling Marte were each plunked twice. But they did not appear atr all intentional. The same could not be said for when Mat Latos got Neil Walker in the backside with a two-out first pitch. Both benches were warned.

“Things happen, the ball slips,” Latos said. “I’ll say if you’re that type of person that’s counting that, it’s 6-2, them so far this series.”

10 Comments

Sam Lecure is a potential All Star…Last time I checked Broxton’s ERA is 5 something, maybe even higher than that. But he’s the “set-up man” so by God Dusty is putting him out there in the 8th no matter what. Thats his role!…I wish our manager had 1 ounce of creativity in his tooth pick chewing head.

LeCure had been used more than one day consecutively. Don’t believe he was available todayt

The Reds win in spite of Dusty. I know the players ‘like’ him and he may be great in the clubhouse. But he’s frankly not a brave, creative or effective manager. I know he’s won a bunch of games…his teams have had a ton of talent…including the current Reds. But he is not strong during games at all.

Pingback: Why Can't Chapman Pitch Before the 9th?

The question is answered before asked only if you uncritically accept Dusty Baker’s excuses. How about the Reds “do it” every time they are playing St. Louis or Pittsburgh, Broxton is struggling and a left-handed hitter is up at bat? That might add an inning or two to Chapman’s workload. Crunch time isn’t only the last week of September. Framing the issue in a way that if you think Chapman should have pitched to Jones today you also think Chapman should pitch all the time in the eighth inning, is disingenuous. Chapman is on pace to pitch about 70 innings again this year. So now another limitation from the decision to use Chapman in the bullpen instead of starting is that the Reds have to baby him for another year.

We can continue to gripe and moan about chappy pitching the 8th but the bigger problem is not having another Lefty to bring in. If Marshel was available we aren’t even talking about this

We had a lefty available. He’s very good, too. His name is Aroldis Chapman; you may have heard of him.

I agree that limiting Chapman to the ninth inning only is very frustrating and I don’t really get it. I’m also frustrated that Broxton will keep his role come hell or high water because that’s what Dusty does. However, the thing that bothers me the most is that this team still lacks the killer instinct. This game should not have even been close by the 8th inning! After jumping on them for 4 runs in the first … the Reds have to have the attitude of stepping on the Pirates throat and taking all their fight away. By not scoring again the rest of the game … we let them believe they had a chance … so they clawed back to within 2 … so it only took one guy on base to bring the tying run to the plate. I believe there is something wrong with Broxton. I don’t know, but his fastball is nowhere close to what it used to be. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to find out he’s been pitching hurt all year. I believe it’s time to use LeCure, Hoover and Marshall (when or if he returns) more in the eighth inning. Broxton should still be in the mix … just not always the 8th inning guy. Frustrating loss for sure … but these things happen … turn the page and win the next series. Most importantly though .. .we need to learn to have the killer instinct. The Reds should have learned that lesson last year in the playoffs!

The Pirates, statistically, have the best bullpen in all the game this year. That’s what they were about proving yesterday with their 10 innings of scoreless relief. Sound like someone’s staff of just a brief year ago? If they get any offense, they will stick as contenders this year to the very end!

Knowing Chapman’s history including his injury history the Reds are doing the right thing by limiting him to certain situations.No way would I have brought him in the eighth yesterday. We missed Marshall in that situation.

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