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.
*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.”