Maybe the “sky is falling” crowd will have something legitimate to worry about this week after all. Courtesy of Mark Sheldon:

Chapman’s top speed in his 22-pitch appearance (seven of which were strikes) was 97 mph, but several of his pitches were 93-94 mph. And that had the Reds worried.

“Yeah, because his velocity was down,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He didn’t have any pain. He might be a little tired. We might have to rest him for a while here. He was analyzed by a doctor. The doctor said his shoulder is fatigued. We’ve got to take care of him.”

Thankfully, the Reds have a 9.5 game lead so they can take whatever cautious course is indicated.

Commence quiet, low-level sense of dread.

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 99 Comments

  1. Wouldn’t the smart thing to do is shut him down for a week, no throwing, no nothing, get treatment and relaxation, then have him throw in the pen with Price and see what happens. If control/speed not there shut him down for another week. Get an MRI now just to be sure, but we have other options in the pen to pitch.

    • Wouldn’t the smart thing to do is shut him down for a week, no throwing, no nothing, get treatment and relaxation, then have him throw in the pen with Price and see what happens.If control/speed not there shut him down for another week.Get an MRI now just to be sure, but we have other options in the pen to pitch.

      I agree

  2. Hear me out on this:

    If, worst case scenario, Chapman misses the postseason, it’s not even THAT bad.
    You can still take
    All 5 starters or 4 w/o Leake
    Hoover
    Broxton
    Marshall
    Simon
    LeCure
    Cingrani/Arredondo/Ondrusek (2 of 3)

    It would really suck, but the quality of pitching does not hinge on only him.

  3. This is why Jocketty went out and got Broxton.

    You cannot argue that he can come in and shut the door. With the reemergence of Hoover too, this bullpen is still dangerous.

  4. I was looking last night at our potential post-season roster, and it’s shocking how good our bullpen is. Broxton, Hoover, and Marshall can all close very effectively and are all amazing pitchers. Simon and LeCure are *great* long-men. What we’ve seen of Cingrani so far has been brilliant. That’s SIX pitchers who can be absolutely lights out. The worst case scenario of Chapman being out for the postseason (which I’d think is unlikely) would suck, but it wouldn’t be a complete disaster.

  5. @Omri: I don’t see how LeCure or Simon, as good as they’ve been, would make the NLDS roster over Bailey. But I agree with your point, the bullpen is still a strength.

    I couldn’t have picked a better time to reread ‘The Machine’. The similarities to the ’75 Reds are striking. The BRM had Pedro Borbon, Will McEnaney, Rawly Eastwick, and Clay Carroll. Captain Hook knew what he had, didn’t he?

    • @Omri: I don’t see how LeCure or Simon, as good as they’ve been, would make the NLDS roster over Bailey. But I agree with your point, the bullpen is still a strength. I couldn’t have picked a better time to reread ‘The Machine’. The similarities to the ’75 Reds are striking. The BRM had Pedro Borbon, Will McEnaney, Rawly Eastwick, and Clay Carroll. Captain Hook knew what he had, didn’t he?

      Unless Bailey stars in a series I don’t see how he is more valuable then anyone in the Pen. Pitching out of the Pen is not something you just start doing. Sorry but I want no part of Bailey pitching out of the pen when we have much better options as proven over the entire season.

      • Unless Bailey stars in a series I don’t see how he is more valuable then anyone in the Pen.Pitching out of the Pen is not something you just start doing.Sorry but I want no part of Bailey pitching out of the pen when we have much better options as proven over the entire season.

        You are going to have to use four starters in the playoffs so Bailey is a no brainer. Leake is the odd man out or goes to the pen.

  6. I just don’t know if Chapman is physically suited for a closer role. He keeps having to shut down in order to get back on his game. Even 2-3 times a season is too much and certainly indicative of excessive strain. No one can question his effectiveness when he is on his game; he is simply the best during those times. Obviously he is committed to the bullpen and probably a role as primary closer for the remainder of this season, that decision was made a long time ago. I do believe that his real ‘calling’ as a ML pitcher is in a starting role. He may also ultimately have similar limitations as a starter too, but next year I think the Reds need to find out exactly what they have in Chapman’s left arm. I personally felt that his success as a starter in ST was even more dominating and scary than his success as a closer and a regular starting rotation schedule will allow him to maintain his mechanics and control his stamina more effectively than working in a relief role. I just hope that he gets back on his game for the playoffs and world series this year.

  7. No worries everyone, according to MLBtraderumors Francisco Cordero has been released from the Astros. I think we’ve found our closer.

    😆

  8. Personally, IF I was Walt, I would see in the upcoming offseason what Chapman “might” bring in trade. IF we could really add some quality talent in exchange I would sure consider it.

    • Personally, IF I was Walt, I would see in the upcoming offseason what Chapman “might” bring in trade.IF we could really add some quality talent in exchange I would sure consider it.

      I agree with this wholeheartedly. Right now, Chapman has essentially infinite trade value as a closer and some would see him as a potential starter. I’ve been saying for over a year, if the Reds are going to continue to mismanage him like this, they would be better off trading him. He’s at peak value now (notwithstanding the short-term health concern). We could make a blockbuster trade and acquire a huge offensive piece or a proven starter.

    • Personally, IF I was Walt, I would see in the upcoming offseason what Chapman “might” bring in trade.IF we could really add some quality talent in exchange I would sure consider it.

      But, I should add, the current Reds ownership doesn’t think like that. They seem to view closers as really hard to find. They will never, ever trade Aroldis Chapman.

  9. @dn4192: As it has been discussed many, many times, the closer role is OVERRATED. I personally think the stat of a “save” is even more overrated. So why keep a guy to keep accumulating pointless stats?

    Chapman for Trout?

    • Chapman for Trout?

      Yes, please. Right now.

    • @dn4192: As it has been discussed many, many times, the closer role is OVERRATED. I personally think the stat of a “save” is even more overrated. So why keep a guy to keep accumulating pointless stats?

      Chapman for Trout?

      Ha ha ha ha. Joke, right? That might happen. Uhhh….no.

  10. @Steve Mancuso: Not gonna happen though…:(

  11. In terms of the article written, yet another shot by the RLN editors at legitimate commentary and analysis.

    I am not Chicken Little, read my posts. I said something is wrong with Chapman physically and for
    that was ridiculed by a different RLN contributor. It’s not Chicken Little. The Reds can win in the postseason without Chapman. But I’d rather have him…duh.

    I based my conclusion on my observation of a 98-99 MPH stopper throwing at 93-94. Not rocket science, yet I was told it was just “mechanical”. After all, Jeff Brantley said so, but Brian Price didn’t notice somehow.

    • In terms of the article written, yet another shot by the RLN editors at legitimate commentary and analysis.

      My only “shot” was at the people who have been saying that the way the team has played the last few days could be an indication they may lose the Division. In fact, I was careful to use the word ‘legitimate’ myself, when describing the Chapprehension. No way you’re going to make me feel bad about poking fun of the few commenters here who turn every Drew Stubbs strike out into the Braves 2011 collapse.

  12. We can start the Chapman-for-Trout rumor right here!

    It’s a perfect fit. The Angels need a closer. We need a leadoff hitter and CF. They have extra OF to make up for losing Trout.

    (The sad thing is that I doubt that the current leadership of the Reds – especially if Baker had input – would make this trade. Sigh.)

  13. Wait a minute.. wouldn’t it be better to lose these next couple games and hope the Pirates can take the second wildcard spot (behind Atlanta) ?

    • Wait a minute.. wouldn’t it be better to lose these next couple games and hope the Pirates can take the second wildcard spot (behind Atlanta) ?

      Yes.

  14. Hehe good one guys. Me thinks that ship sailed as soon as Trout put on on the Halos uniform.

    I agree that AC should be traded if the organization believes he can’t start. I doubt they have it in them though. This manager and this GM are slaves to the closer being key idea.

    What happened to all the people talking about how closing keeps someone like Chapman healthy? A quick glance at the closers with serious injuries the past 2 or 3 years reads like a Who’s Who of pitchers.

    • Hehe good one guys. Me thinks that ship sailed as soon as Trout potty on the Halos uniform.

      I agree that AC should be traded if the organization believes hestart.I doubt they have it in them though.This manager and this GM are slaves to the closer being key idea.

      What happened to all the people talking about how closing keeps someone like Chapman healthy? A quick glance at the closers with serious injuries the past 2 or 3 years reads like a Who’s Who of pitchers.

      My point yesterday exactly. We don’t know, but what if his arm can’t hold up for a season of 50-60 appearances?

  15. I assume this Trout talk is with tongue firmly in cheek. Trout is the best player in baseball and he’s, what, 20? The Angels wouldn’t trade him for the entire Reds’ roster.

    • I assume this Trout talk is with tongue firmly in cheek. Trout is the best player in baseball and he’s, what, 20? The Angels wouldn’t trade him for the entire Reds’ roster.

      Don’t let Bryce Harper hear you say that.
      Bro.
      😀

  16. I am perfectly comfortable with Marshall and Broxton closing out games. Has Chapman really been that dominant? He has certainly overpowered many hitters and caused lots of excitement along the way, but of the 36 pitchers that currently have at least 10 saves, Chapman is 19th in Save %. He is not even in the top half. If excitement alone wins games this is a big loss. If save % is more important I am not too worried. If a team can go 2 months without the best hitter in baseball they can survive without the 19th best closer.

    • I am perfectly comfortable with Marshall and Broxton closing out games.

      I’d add JJ Hoover to that list.

    • I am perfectly comfortable with Marshall and Broxton closing out games.Has Chapman really been that dominant?He has certainly overpowered many hitters and caused lots of excitement along the way, but of the 36 pitchers that currently have at least 10 saves, Chapman is 19th in Save %.He is not even in the top half.If excitement alone wins games this is a big loss.If save % is more important I am not too worried.If a team can go 2 months without the best hitter in baseball they can survive without the 19th best closer.

      Is this a serious question? Yes he’s been that dominant.

      • Is this a serious question? Yes he’s been that dominant.

        In some sense, Chapman’s been unnecessarily dominant. I.e., you don’t have to be as good
        as he is to get saves most of the time. The fact is that several closers have performed
        their job description better than Chapman this year. Chapman is by far the better pitcher
        than those guys, but you don’t need to strike out the side to get a save with a 2 run lead.
        I love it, but it’s just not necessary. As the stopper, I believe Chapman’s blown 3 saves.
        (Some others came as a setup man, I think.) That makes his save percentage as a stopper unremarkable. I feel he should be tried in a different role, as in starting.

  17. “The doctor said his shoulder is fatigued.” Isn’t this Redspeak for “His shoulder is only hanging by a few threads of skin. He’ll be out for 4 months.”

  18. though i get the logic…the last thing i thought id read today from Redlegnation is we should trade Aroldis Chapman…

    • though i get the logic…the last thing i thought id read today from Redlegnation is we should trade Aroldis Chapman…

      You are missing a big “if….” in there.

  19. It doesn’t matter how would feel, we are talking about Dusty and WJ here. They need a closer. Heck, I feel the same way as you.

    Save % is a pretty terrible stat for.comparing closers. Chapman blows 1 less save and suddenly he leap frogs a bunch of people. And we’ll ignore the fact that not all saves are created equal.

  20. Indeed. IF he is kept as a closer for next year, I’d consider trading him. MLB, as a whole, still overvalues closers and I think if he’s on the market as a closer, he could bring a haul. He should be, of course, starting, so if the Reds go into next year with the plan to start him, there’s no way on earth I’d trade him unless someone made a godfather offer.

  21. I’m personally not worried about having to rest Chapman. We’ve got three guys in the bullpen who have shown they can deliver in pressure situations. Broxton, Hoover, and Marshall. Heck, even LeCure came through big last night, but I can’t say I have THAT much confidence in him. Sit Chapman for a couple of weeks, bring him in sparingly, have him at full strength for the playoffs. We’re in good shape. Now, if only we could get Todd Frazier that rest… mabye tonight?

  22. @per14:

    If his arm is fatigued when he is only throwing 60+ innings, how can anyone think he should be starting? If he dials back his speeds to the 94-95mph range so that he can throw more innings, he becomes much much less effective. I’m just not sure he can make it as a starter.

    • @per14: If his arm is fatigued when he is only throwing 60+ innings, how can anyone think he should be starting? If he dials back his speeds to the 94-95mph range so that he can throw more innings, he becomes much much less effective. I’m just not sure he can make it as a starter.

      I don’t think the issue is so much innings, but how often he pitches. There is a huge difference in pitching every day or almost every day over pitching once every 5 days.

    • @per14:

      If his arm is fatigued when he is only throwing 60+ innings, how can anyone think he should be starting?If he dials back his speeds to the 94-95mph range so that he can throw more innings, he becomes much much less effective.I’m just not sure he can make it as a starter.

      Ondrusek broke down last year in part because of a workload that deviated from what his arm was used to, not the total workload. The leverage that Chapman generates is so extreme that if his mechanics don’t remain resolutely sound, it’s easy to see how he would suddenly begin to experience fatigue. If he was starting, it would be easier for Price to keep an eye on him and nip mechanical changes in the bud because you can work on things between starts. It’s much harder to identify and work on mechanical problems when you never know when a guy is going to pitch out of the pen.

      Yet another reason why he should be starting.

      • Ondrusek broke down last year in part because of a workload that deviated from what his arm was used to, not the total workload. The leverage that Chapman generates is so extreme that if his mechanics don’t remain resolutely sound, it’s easy to see how he would suddenly begin to experience fatigue. If he was starting, it would be easier for Price to keep an eye on him and nip mechanical changes in the bud because you can work on things between starts. It’s much harder to identify and work on mechanical problems when you never know when a guy is going to pitch out of the pen.Yet another reason why he should be starting.

        @Richard Fitch: You make an interesting point there and I haven’t really thought about it that way. Something for me to think about.

      • Ondrusek broke down last year in part because of a workload that deviated from what his arm was used to, not the total workload.The leverage that Chapman generates is so extreme that if his mechanics don’t remain resolutely sound, it’s easy to see how he would suddenly begin to experience fatigue.If he was starting, it would be easier for Price to keep an eye on him and nip mechanical changes in the bud because you can work on things between starts.It’s much harder to identify and work on mechanical problems when you never know when a guy is going to pitch out of the pen.

        Yet another reason why he should be starting.

        Where are the facts here? Maybe Ondrusek just didn’t pitch that well.

        And now you’re saying Chapman actually does have something physically wrong (even it’s
        just fatigue, which I am skeptical of; we’ll see) due to his mechanics, something that is
        completely impossible to say.

        • Where are the facts here? Maybe Ondrusek just didn’t pitch that well.

          And now you’re saying Chapman actually does have something physically wrong (even it’s
          just fatigue, which I am skeptical of; we’ll see) due to his mechanics, something that is
          completely impossible to say.

          Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe Ondrusek spent time on the DL last August with a strained forearm. Both he and Masset were relied on heavily as the summer wore on and the starters failed to get thru 6 innings night after night. And, of course, both became less effective as Dusty started asking them to pitch consecutive nights and stay on the mound longer.

          Those are the facts I know.

          It is impossible to say what is causing Chapman’s current ineffectiveness. But you’re wrong to jump to the conclusion that a drop in velocity means he’s DEFINITELY injured. You’re also wrong to say it’s not rocket science. It kinda is rocket science. That’s why the baseball is having a debate about Strasburg. That’s why the Reds couldn’t figure out how to fix Volquez and ended up trading him.

          • rocket

            Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe Ondrusek spent time on the DL last August with a strained forearm.Both he and Masset were relied on heavily as the summer wore on and the starters failed to get thru 6 innings night after night.And, of course, both became less effective as Dusty started asking them to pitch consecutive nights and stay on the mound longer.

            Those are the facts I know.

            It is impossible to say what is causing Chapman’s current ineffectiveness.But you’re wrong to jump to the conclusion that a drop in velocity means he’s DEFINITELY injured.You’re also wrong to say it’s not rocket science.It kinda is rocket science.That’s why the baseball is having a debate about Strasburg.That’s why the Reds couldn’t figure out how to fix Volquez and ended up trading him.

            By rocket science, I meant it didn’t take a genius to observe his velocity drop.

            In terms of your point, I don’t see how Strasburg or Volquez is relevant. My point is only that it is highly unusual to see a pitcher drop 5 MPH in velocity and it’s purely a mechanical problem. I cannot think of one instance of something like that. If a pitcher is throwing a lot of balls, that might be a mechanical problem (or it could be an injury). The Reds clearly do not take MRIs of their players “eagerly”; this has been shown. You seem to think pitchers are way different than hitters, but Votto is their star, high paid player and they didn’t do it there. A knee could be bad, not as bad as an arm, but bad.

            The bottom line is that about one hour after I stated that I think Chapman’s injured, Dusty Baker said he’s worried something’s not right also and it’s clear now that at the least it’s arm fatigue. You ridiculed me for making an analysis based on past history with Chapman and the way this club treats injuries. It was not a Chicken Little, knee jerk pessimism, etc. I certainly do not see the worst in every scenario. As I said, Chapman could miss the whole postseason and the Reds still can win.

            Don’t worry, I won’t wait for your correction.

          • My point is only that it is highly unusual to see a pitcher drop 5 MPH in velocity and it’s purely a mechanical problem.

            Well, Brantley says you’re wrong. Marty Brennaman specifically asked Jeff what could make a pitcher’s velocity drop precipitously, and Brantley said MECHANICS. He also went on to say that Chapman’s mechanics last night deviated from his normal delivery in that he was not getting over his right side and was relying more on his arm and less on his legs. Now, if you don’t think something like that could have a a dramatic effect on velocity, I’d say you need to re-think.

            Now, maybe you did stay in a Holiday Inn last night, but I’m going to take Brantley’s expertise over yours, if that’s okay with you.

            If you want to go from straight from velocity to injury, fine. There is a small coterie here that majors in jumping to conclusions. Perhaps your a doctor, too. But the idea that the Reds and their medical staff, who have so much invested in Chapman, aren’t watching him and doing the utmost to look out for his health, strikes me as silly. Yet, it gets voiced here like it’s fact.

            I beg to differ.

    • @per14: If his arm is fatigued when he is only throwing 60+ innings, how can anyone think he should be starting? If he dials back his speeds to the 94-95mph range so that he can throw more innings, he becomes much much less effective. I’m just not sure he can make it as a starter.

      @Gregg: I am inclined to agree with you here. I mean look at the Yanks and Joba Chamberlain. That’s just one quick example. He was starting in Cuba but that really isn’t the same thing. Of course the Reds will never know unless they try it and I really think they need to try it next season.

  23. I would offer them Chapman and Bruce for Trout…

  24. Given the track record of our “crack” medical staff (see Bray, Masset, Votto and others) what are the odds they are even able to see if Chapman is hurt, tired or just mechanically off?

    • Given the track record of our “crack” medical staff (see Bray, Masset, Votto and others) what are the odds they are even able to see if Chapman is hurt, tired or just mechanically off?

      How dare you have such pessimism.

  25. Let’s be serious here there’s no way in God green earth that the Angels would trade Trout for anyone in the MLB

  26. @dn4192:

    He hasn’t pitched back to back for two weeks. His recent pitching dates (listed below) give him mostly 3 days off between appearances.

    Recent pitching dates:
    09/10
    09/07
    09/04
    09/02
    08/28

    • @dn4192: He hasn’t pitched back to back for two weeks. His recent pitching dates (listed below) give him mostly 3 days off between appearances. Recent pitching dates:09/1009/0709/0409/0208/28

      But how many times has he gotten up and thrown and not come in. Each time is impact on that arm. Also how many BTB outings has he had this season?

  27. @AnnapolisHoosier: My point is that he has blown 5 saves and that Marshall, Broxton, and Hoover can match that production. It is my opinion that if Marshall was the closer all year the Reds would have the same record they have now.

  28. Speaking of pitching, since the Reds will “probably” have the No. 2 spot, which means starting on the road in either LA or SF, how would you set up the rotation? We know Bailey is much better on the road, so do you go with Cueto/Bailey in games 1 and 2 and then come home with Latos/Bronson and….

    • Speaking of pitching, since the Reds will “probably” have the No. 2 spot, which means starting on the road in either LA or SF, how would you set up the rotation? We know Bailey is much better on the road, so do you go with Cueto/Bailey in games 1 and 2 and then come home with Latos/Bronson and….

      We know Bailey’s ERA has been better on the road this year.

      You start you best pitchers first. You don’t start Bailey earlier in the rotation because it is a road game. That gives Cueto 2 starts if the series goes 5 games. Latos is then setup to start the next playoff round. If you sweep in the first round, it doesn’t matter who the 4th starter is because you don’t use him.

      • We know Bailey’s ERA has been better on the road this year. You start you best pitchers first. You don’t start Bailey earlier in the rotation because it is a road game. That gives Cueto 2 starts if the series goes 5 games. Latos is then setup to start the next playoff round. If you sweep in the first round, it doesn’t matter who the 4th starter is because you don’t use him.

        But with how Cueto has pitched of late and his history in the month of Sept, and his high number of innings pitched this year, are we sure he will be the best Reds pitcher going into the playoffs?

      • @Greg Dafler:

        You start you best pitchers first. You don’t start Bailey earlier in the rotation because it is a road game. That gives Cueto 2 starts if the series goes 5 games. Latos is then setup to start the next playoff round. If you sweep in the first round, it doesn’t matter who the 4th starter is because you don’t use him.

        Greg, I don’t change my mind easily, especially with a single, simple statement presented in argument, but I just did. I assumed that Latos would be able to start the 2nd playoff series wether he pitched game #2 or game #3 of the 1st playoff series. This isn’t true this year. I checked the playoff schedule and if Latos doesn’t start until game #3 in the 1st playoff series, he would be on 3 days rest if he started game #1 of the 2nd playoff series. Cueto and Latos have to start the first two games even if that means that Arroyo and Bailey start the first two games at GABP.

        Drat the goofy playoff schedule this year. As you point out, if the reds just sweep the 1st three games, it simply doesn’t matter anyway.

        • @Greg Dafler: Greg, I don’t change my mind easily, especially with a single, simple statement presented in argument, but I just did. I assumed that Latos would be able to start the 2nd playoff series wether he pitched game #2 or game #3 of the 1st playoff series. This isn’t true this year. I checked the playoff schedule and if Latos doesn’t start until game #3 in the 1st playoff series, he would be on 3 days rest if he started game #1 of the 2nd playoff series. Cueto and Latos have to start the first two games even if that means that Arroyo and Bailey start the first two games at GABP.Drat the goofy playoff schedule this year. As you point out, if the reds just sweep the 1st three games, it simply doesn’t matter anyway.

          Why do Cueto and Latos have to start games 1 and 2 of the NLDS? Given how much better Homer pitches on the road, why not go with him in game two and have Latos open at home in game 3?

          • @dn4192:

            Why do Cueto and Latos have to start games 1 and 2 of the NLDS? Given how much better Homer pitches on the road, why not go with him in game two and have Latos open at home in game 3?

            DN, that was my original thinking and I still believe that is the best option except for the goofy playoff schedule being used this year. If Latos pitches game #2, then he is available to start game #1 of the NLCS. If Latos pitches game #3, then he is not available to pitch game #1 of the NLCS. If the Division Series goes 5 games, then neither Cueto nor Latos is available for game #1 of the NLCS. That is the issue I am concerned with. I would prefer an additional off day and then such a scheduling conflict becomes mute.

  29. I would love to see Chapman get shut down for two weeks. I feel like that’s the approach you have to take now.

  30. @rfay00:

    agreed.

  31. I do not think the Walt, Dusty, Price, or anyone in the Reds organization has mismanaged Chapman. I agree the closer role in general is overrated, but I think a lot of us here at Redleg Nation might underrate the importance of a dominate closer as well. Going into the ninth with a 1 run lead (or yes, even a 2 or 3 run lead) and having almost no worry even if the opposition’s middle of the order is up, is not a small deal. Yes, I know Chapman has struggled at times, but those troubles have came in spurts. For the most part he has been unbelievably dominate and reliable which is exactly what you need from a closer.

    Here’s my main point though: Chapman is the closer because Ryan Madson got hurt for the year. Going into spring training, Chapman was in line to start, which is what everyone here wanted right? Walt, Dusty and company played the cards they were dealt and frankly with a 9 1/2 game lead in September it’s hard to argue that they have played them incorrectly. So chillax errbody! We have a scary lineup with Cueto throwing game 1 and Latos throwing game 2 in the playoffs and a great bullpen. I like our chances 🙂

    • We have a scary lineup with Cueto throwing game 1 and Latos throwing game 2 in the playoffs and a great bullpen. I like our chances

      But that means Homer and Bronson go at GABP….

    • @VottoManCrush:

      Here’s my main point though: Chapman is the closer because Ryan Madson got hurt for the year. Going into spring training, Chapman was in line to start, which is what everyone here wanted right? Walt, Dusty and company played the cards they were dealt and frankly with a 9 1/2 game lead in September it’s hard to argue that they have played them incorrectly. So chillax errbody!

      VMC, I think you missed the point of the discussion regarding Chapman. The issue we were discussing was Chapman’s role next year, not this year, or if Chapman should even be traded during the offseason for a significant return on the Reds’ investment. A lot of people in RLN (I am one) felt that Chapman’s most effective role this year was as a starter, even after Madson went down, but that is water way over the dam at this point. Chapman is the closer for the 2012 Reds and will remain the closer for the 2012 Reds, at least baring physical limitations.

      With the goofy playoff setup, I’m not sure Cueto and Latos pitch games 1 & 2 of the first playoff series. Since Bailey will have to pitch at least 1 playoff game (assuming the series goes at least 4 games), I’m not sure I wouldn’t rather have Bailey pitch the 2nd game after Cueto, followed by Latos and Arroyo at GABP. No mater what, I like our chances too. 🙂

  32. Just keep in mind that if Reds management makes the right call and makes Chapman a starter next year, and if they do it right from spring training on, we should all familiarize ourselves with the ins and outs of the various Strasburg discussions, because we’ll be having them ourselves in 11-12 months.

    • Just keep in mind that if Reds management makes the right call and makes Chapman a starter next year, and if they do it right from spring training on, we should all familiarize ourselves with the ins and outs of the various Strasburg discussions, because we’ll be having them ourselves in 11-12 months.

      You would hope the Reds handle Chapman next year the way the Braves have handled Kris Medlen this year, who are not having any Strasburg discussions because they kept his innings down early in the year by keeping him in the bullpen and transitioning him mid-season.

  33. @VottoManCrush: Maybe “mismanaged” isn’t the correct word, but the Reds clearly have over-valued the Closer role and a probably wasting resources. I think fans get carried away by the “dominance” factor. It certainly is fun to watch him strike out the side, but it’s no more valuable than having Marshall out there getting 3 ground ball outs, or even giving up an out somewhere in there. Bringing Chapman in to start a clean inning is not using him to maximum effect.

    I also doubt that Latos throws Game 2. I would almost bet Dusty hands the ball to Arroyo for Game 2.

  34. @rfay00:

    Yes. Good way to put it: Broxton was insurance. Now he is paying off.

  35. @RC: I think any possible idea of him being a starter is no longer a discussion point. After seeing what happened to Neftali Feliz this year and seeing how much impact he has brought to the 9th inning, the chances of him being transformed back to a starter are slim to none.

    • After seeing what happened to Neftali Feliz this year and seeing how much impact he has brought to the 9th inning, the chances of him being transformed back to a starter are slim to none

      Feliz is a cautionary tale, to be sure. That’s part of the consequence of locking Chapman into an entire year of bullpen. Keep in mind that Texas found a 37-year old closer (Joe Nathan) out of the free agent pool and Nathan has been excellent. Closers are everywhere. Elite starters, not so much.

      • Feliz is a cautionary tale, to be sure. That’s part of the consequence of locking Chapman into an entire year of bullpen. Keep in mind that Texas found a 37-year old closer (Joe Nathan) out of the free agent pool and Nathan has been excellent. Closers are everywhere. Elite starters, not so much.

        But when we signed one this year, he blew out his shoulder in spring training. The Reds can’t afford to make those signings like the Rangers do. If the Rangers would have signed Madson and he would have went down, they would have just signed another.

        What if Chapman struggles adjusting to seeing batters 3-4 times a game. His two pitches won’t be enough. If Dusty Baker is still managing this team next year, I expect Chapman to be a closer.

      • Feliz is a cautionary tale, to be sure. That’s part of the consequence of locking Chapman into an entire year of bullpen. Keep in mind that Texas found a 37-year old closer (Joe Nathan) out of the free agent pool and Nathan has been excellent. Closers are everywhere. Elite starters, not so much.

        Only problem is we have no idea if Chapman is an elite starter. It should at least be alot more clear at this stage of his career, but we really don’t know at this point what his career ceiling is.

  36. @dn4192: Kremcheck has an excellent reputation and a lot of other teams’ players go to him for 2nd opinions or surgeries. Still, his diagnostic track-record as of late doesn’t appear to be that good. Anytime I hear a team say “shoulder fatigue” I worry. Shoulders are much trickier and much more serious then elbows.

  37. (I would) start Homer on the road.

    (Dusty would) not.

  38. @RC: I don’t know about comparing Chapman’s situation to Strasburg’s. Similar in that they are young, power-pitchers who could have a substantial increase in workload assuming Chapman becomes a starter. The thing that sets Strasburg apart is he was coming off of Tommy John surgery. I think that was the deciding factor in the Nats shutting him down.

  39. Looking at the playoffs, We are at Sept. 11, we are under 21 games left in the regular season. IF the season ended today the playoffs would be:

    AL:

    No 1 seed would be Texas
    No 2 seed would be Yankees
    No 3 seed would be White Sox
    WC 1 would be: Oakland A
    WC 2 would be: Baltimore O’s

    O’s travel west for 1 game playoffs vs. A’s

    Texas travels to either Baltimore or Oakland for ALDS games 1-2
    Yankees travel to Chicago for ALDS games 1-2

    NL

    No 1 seed would be Nationals
    No 2 seed would be Reds
    No 3 seed would be Giants
    WC 1 would be Braves
    WC 2 would be Cards

    Nationals travel to Atlanta or St. Louis for NLDS games 1 and 2
    Reds travel to SF for NLDS games 1 and 2

    So do you think this is what it will be come the end of the season?

  40. How many pitches did Chapman have at the end of Spring Training? How many now? Perhaps with a few more piches in his arsenal, his shoulder might be less fatigued?

  41. @Richard Fitch: Yes, I would hope that, too. But if management does decide to keep Chapman as closer next year, you can add me to the list of people who’d trade him instead. What he could potentially bring in return would be more valuable than any closer could ever be.

    • @RC: Absolutely. He’d make a great fireman, too, the kind of relief pitcher that comes into a high leverage situation in the 7th and just stays to close out the game. Too bad that role has gone out of vogue in major league baseball.

  42. @dn4192: By all means, let’s never find out.

  43. I honestly don’t know how anybody can argue for Chapman to be a starter based on this story. If he gets fatigued throwing one inning per outing, max 5 innings per week, how can you expect his arm to hold up over the course of a season throwing 6-7-8-9 innings once every 5 days? He has been magnificent in the closer role this year I say train him to stay there and become the most dominant closer in the history of baseball.

    • I honestly don’t know how anybody can argue for Chapman to be a starter based on this story. If he gets fatigued throwing one inning per outing, max 5 innings per week, how can you expect his arm to hold up over the course of a season throwing 6-7-8-9 innings once every 5 days? He has been magnificent in the closer role this year I say train him to stay there and become the most dominant closer in the history of baseball.

      Pitching 6-7 innings a day every 5-6 days is different than throwing 5-6 innings a week, sometimes on back-to-back-to-back days.

      I don’t think anyone here can say that a pitcher who cannot do one of these tasks also cannot do the other.

      • Pitching 6-7 innings a day every 5-6 days is different than throwing 5-6 innings a week, sometimes on back-to-back-to-back days.
        I don’t think anyone here can say that a pitcher who cannot do one of these tasks also cannot do the other.

        Abso-lutely. We’re all kind of blowing smoke here. Chap’s arm might react better to pitching longer once a week than to pitching one inning three times a week. Or vice versa. Or maybe he’s headed for TJ surgery next season no matter how they choose to utilize him. We don’t know any of this.

        What I genuinely don’t understand is the mindset that, since we don’t know what would happen, we shouldn’t even *try* starting him. Anybody got those WAR stats regarding Mariano Rivera vs. Randy Johnson handy?

        • Abso-lutely.We’re all kind of blowing smoke here.Chap’s arm might react better to pitching longer once a week than to pitching one inning three times a week.Or vice versa.Or maybe he’s headed for TJ surgery next season no matter how they choose to utilize him.We don’t know any of this.

          What I genuinely don’t understand is the mindset that, since we don’t know what would happen, we shouldn’t even *try* starting him.Anybody got those WAR stats regarding Mariano Rivera vs. Randy Johnson handy?

          Mariano Rivera: 52.7 WAR
          Randy Johnson: 98.6 WAR

  44. @Greg Dafler: I disagree. If you can’t pitch 5 innings per week I don’t think you can be a starter. There is a reason most pitchers end up in the pen. They can’t be consistent with their best pitches over the course of an entire game. They can nail it down for 1 or 2 innings, generally, and that’s it. In my opinion that defines Chapman perfectly. Last year, and now in his last few appearances this year, he has been having control issues. You really think that’s going to change if he is a starter?

    • @Greg Dafler: I disagree. If you can’t pitch 5 innings per week I don’t think you can be a starter. There is a reason most pitchers end up in the pen. They can’t be consistent with their best pitches over the course of an entire game. They can nail it down for 1 or 2 innings, generally, and that’s it. In my opinion that defines Chapman perfectly. Last year, and now in his last few appearances this year, he has been having control issues. You really think that’s going to change if he is a starter?

      I think there is a HUGE difference in impact on the body and such between relievers and starters.

    • Last year, and now in his last few appearances this year, he has been having control issues.

      Control issues?????? 119/20.

      • Control issues??????119/20.

        The poster said “last year, and the last few appearances this year”, control problems.
        I believe that’s accurate.

        Obviously, his control this year before the last couple appearances was phenomenal.

        • The poster said “last year, and the last few appearances this year”, control problems.
          I believe that’s accurate.

          Accuracy has nothing to do with it. He’s using old and small sample size information to make a case that Chapman is ill-suited to be a starter. It’s an incredibly poor argument.

          • Accuracy has nothing to do with it.He’s using old and small sample size information to make a case that Chapman is ill-suited to be a starter.It’s an incredibly poor argument.

            I see. I missed the preceding thing. I thought it was an injury thing. My mistake. I’d think Chapman as a starter, by virtue of throwing a little less hard, would be at least as good as he was most of this year control wise.

    • If you can’t pitch 5 innings per week I don’t think you can be a starter.

      Of course he can pitch 5 innings per week. That’s not what he’s being asked to do. He’s being asked to pitch 5 innings one week. 1 the next. Then maybe 6 the following week. And maintain good mechanics throughout. And be flexible, mentally and emotionally. That’s a who different mindset than pitching once every 5 days.

  45. @dn4192: We have a difference in opinion then

  46. I think a lot of fans are going really overboard about Chapman and assuming a worst case scenario. Chapman isn’t in pain, seems to be feeling fine, but his velocity is down – maybe he’ll be fine tomorrow, maybe his arm will need major surgery, and unfortunately many fans seem to be blindly leaning towards the later with no evidence whatsoever.

    The closer role is overrated until you compare Aroldis Chapman to all the other closers the Reds have had in the past decade – Graves, Weathers, Guardado, Cordero. Closers seem to be everywhere, but the Reds can’t find one. Maybe Chapman’s replacement will only blow a few more games than him next season – Cordero blew 6 last year and 8 in 2010 – but geez fans hated him for being unreliable, replacing HIM was a priority for competing in 2012. John Axford has 8 blown saves in Milwaukee this season. Suddenly the Reds should replace Chapman and people expect to be happy with the replacement? I don’t see that happening.

    If Chapman does move to the rotation next season he’ll have ridiculously high expectations placed upon him that I don’t think he can hope to live up to – Cy Young or bust. As has been mentioned he’ll probably get shut down early like Stephen Strasburg. I don’t envy the guys who make decisions for the Reds in this matter.

    JJ Hoover, Sean Marshall, Ryan Madson off Tommy John surgery, Jonathan Broxton, even Tony Cingrani, they all look close closer candidates for 2013 but they’re all huge question marks.

    • I think a lot of fans are going really overboard about Chapman and assuming a worst case scenario. Chapman isn’t in pain, seems to be feeling fine, but his velocity is down – maybe he’ll be fine tomorrow, maybe his arm will need major surgery, and unfortunately many fans seem to be blindly leaning towards the later with no evidence whatsoever.The closer role is overrated until you compare Aroldis Chapman to all the other closers the Reds have had in the past decade – Graves, Weathers, Guardado, Cordero. Closers seem to be everywhere, but the Reds can’t find one. Maybe Chapman’s replacement will only blow a few more games than him next season – Cordero blew 6 last year and 8 in 2010 – but geez fans hated him for being unreliable, replacing HIM was a priority for competing in 2012. John Axford has 8 blown saves in Milwaukee this season. Suddenly the Reds should replace Chapman and people expect to be happy with the replacement? I don’t see that happening.If Chapman does move to the rotation next season he’ll have ridiculously high expectations placed upon him that I don’t think he can hope to live up to – Cy Young or bust. As has been mentioned he’ll probably get shut down early like Stephen Strasburg. I don’t envy the guys who make decisions for the Reds in this matter.JJ Hoover, Sean Marshall, Ryan Madson off Tommy John surgery, Jonathan Broxton, even Tony Cingrani, they all look close closer candidates for 2013 but they’re all huge question marks.

      He say’s he feels no pain, how often are athletes truthful about injuries and instead try to play through them…

      • He say’s he feels no pain, how often are athletes truthful about injuries and instead try to play through them…

        I don’t know how often athletes are truthful about feeling pain, but we haven’t been given evidence to suspect that he’s lying. He’s not in Cuba anymore and here he’s innocent until proven guilty.

        Another witch hunt like after that season ending (oh wait) knee injury to Joey Votto (fire the doctor! or the trainer! or the manager, somebody must be to blame for Votto’s knee!) isn’t something we need.

  47. @redsfanman: Best case is arm fatigue, which isn’t “feeling fine”. He’s not going to be pitching tomorrow, at least I hope not. Seems they will rest him for a while.

  48. Well it’s offical from Dusty via Mark Sheldon…it’s “arm fatigue”. Now not sure how they came about that diagnosis, but he will sit a while and see if the fatigue goes away I guess.

  49. The first game of the NLCS is Sunday, October 14. The third game of the NLDS, depending on the schedule, is either Tuesday, October 9 or Wednesday, October 10. A pitcher who goes in game three on October 9 would be exactly on regular rest to open up the NLCS. So if the Reds went Cueto, Bailey then Latos to start the NLDS, in theory, Cueto would be available to pitch game five if necessary and Latos could open the NLCS. If the NLDS ended in three or four games, then Cueto and Latos could start the first two games of the NLCS.

  50. Mat Latos has a pretty great record pitching in ATT Park (San Francisco). Over his career six starts, his ERA is 1.67 and BAA is .169

  51. I seem to recall from an interview with John Smoltz that he thought closing was not much less stressful on the arm than starting, as you are up and down so much in the pen then pitch 2-4 days straight without the extended break between outings.

    Either way, while his total innings isn’t topped out, this is probably the latest in a season Chapman has regularly pitched without a break (on the DL last year). What has happened this past week is something that seemed to happen to him if used 3 days in a row last year. That 3rd day, he was a mess. Beyond the speed, he’s lost that control he had earlier this year and that’s probably more telling.

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

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2012 Postseason, 2012 Reds, Chapmania

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