Chapmania: Night 2 yields a win, and a sweep

[Box Score]
[] [Hardball Talk]

There’s a lot going on with this team right now. On the night the Reds climbed 8 games ahead of the Cardinals in the NL Central race, Aroldis Chapman picked up his first win in his career. This will also go down in history as the night that Yonder Alonso made his big league debut (albeit with an excuse me type swing). The excitement at the ball park is palpable if you’re a true fan that has watched this team flounder for the past decade.

I’m impressed by Chapman. I can’t figure out how he is throwing as hard as he is, but I figure that they’ve got his mechanics just right at this point and he’s in the zone on the mound in mastering those mechanics. That’s why you see the jump on the fastball. That’s why you see the slider (which probably grades out at a perfect 80 by scouts). I buy the momentum and shot in the arm that Chapman represents. I don’t think it’s overstated in the slightest. The guy makes the Reds contenders to go deep in the postseason.

I think the National League is wide open; and the Reds will be right in the thick of things if they can get a few guys back healthy. I’m concerned about Jay Bruce. I’m concerned about Arthur Rhodes. I’m needing to see Phillips swing the bat well for a few weeks. But if they get these things in place I’m telling you right now that this team could roll right into the World Series if the stars get a little more aligned. I’m not being a homer. I’m telling you, it’s a reality.

And now for my favorite Clapton tune of all time. You tell me with a straight face that this one shouldn’t be played on the loudspeakers at a ball park near you!