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« Cubs' Jeff Baker vs. Lefties | Main | Halladay Versus Beltre »

Aroldis Chapman, the Cuban Missile in Crisis

Do you get the feeling that Aroldis Chapman of the Reds is uncomfortably familiar these days with the old song, “Wild World,” by Cat Stevens?

As I look at Chapman’s stats, Stevens’ lyrics keep resonating in my head,

“Oh, baby, baby it's a wild world
It's hard to get by just upon a smile.”

In Chapman’s case it's hard to get by just upon a 105 mph fastball if you can’t control it.

Over the last month, Chapman is everywhere but home plate. This season, the Cuban Missile, as the lefty is called, has 20 walks, 15 strikeouts and a 6.92 earned-run average over 13 innings. He has walked 12 batters and managed only four outs in his past four appearances, twice leaving before retiring a batter. On Sunday, Chapman walked four of five batters his faced in the 9th inning, leading to a five-run Cardinals comeback. He managed only five strikes in 18 pitches. As a result the Reds put him on the DL, more the Dysfunctional List than anything else.

Take a look at Chapman’s fastball over the last month (April 17 – May 17):

In some respects his slider is even worse, because when it is not in the strike zone it is right down batters’ power alleys.

It is indeed a wild world these days for Chapman and the Reds need to find out why, which is primarily why he is on DL at this time.

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