I want this post to come with a disclaimer attached with it: I love Aroldis Chapman. I love him being on the Reds roster. I think he’s a dominating, imposing presence that is a once in a lifetime physical talent. He’s probably the hardest throwing pitcher in modern baseball history. AND he’s a lefty.
With all that said, I’ve got this feeling inside me that he’s going to be the one to stabs the knife in the Reds proverbial jugular in a big spot to end the season. I don’t know when it will be – I am not that good. I don’t get these feelings often, but when I do I usually end up being correct. Perhaps it’s in a one-game playoff. Perhaps it’s in a game they have to win to avoid the one game playoff. Maybe it’s in the NLDS. It’s coming.
I’ve watched baseball long enough to know that all closers blow saves. I’ll take Chapman over all but about four or five guys in the game. But he’s got this quality about him; this mysterious Cuban quality. That same kind of quality that Jose Mesa had when he was just due in the book of fate to come out empty-minded and blow game seven of the World Series for the Indians. There are some nights when Chapman is that same Hell-bent guy. When that Chapman shows up, the Reds are going to lose because he’s going to make sure of it. There’s no reversing it once it’s in effect.
I’ve seen him do it several times this season. The first time was May 19th in Philadelphia. Better known as Pastry-Gate. The second time was June 22nd on a Saturday night in Arizona. Jay Bruce hit two dramatic home runs and it should have went down as the Reds biggest win of the season. Chapman didn’t even record an out. The same guy was out July 29th in San Diego – didn’t even record an out.
And there he was last night in Milwaukee. The Reds are on their best roll of the season and traded leads with the Brewers all night. It should have went down as a win. Chapman didn’t record an out and blew the game.
For a guy with his stuff, this happens entirely too often which makes one wonder if the focus is there night to night. If you’ve read in-dept about the Cuban lefty, it would be hard to believe if he’s always thinking about hitter’s tendencies and the most efficient way to record three outs through the middle of an order.
For a team in the Reds position – a team jockeying for position and trying to stay hot – there’s nothing more deflating and demoralizing then one member of the roster taking a one directly from the win column and inserting it to the loss column. The closer is one of the only guys with the ability to do that. Chapman has gotten his entire baseball family ambushed a number of times this season, and my baseball senses it’s going to cost them in a big spot at some point.