Yeah, they played in Cinci today. Beating the Flubs is always a good thing, and Leake apparently looked decent doing it (though a 5/7 K/BB ratio isn't going to cut it). The big news, though, was to be found about 200 miles straight north as the Toledo Mud Hens hosted the Louisville Bats and Aroldis Chapman.
Chapman was everything you've heard: Fastball topped out at 101, slider was nasty, control wasn't pinpoint, doesn't look like he's throwing that hard.
Fastball - 97+ all day long. It seemed, though, that he had much better command at the lower end of that range. Most impressive was the strikeout on pitches of 79/81/100 mph - the hitter never had a chance on any of the three.
Slider - 88-91, usually for a strike. Made many grown men look like little girls.
Control - good, but not great. Only 1 walk, but 85 pitches in 4 2/3 IP. He seemed to go deep into the count most of the time. Of course, 9 strikeouts will up the pitch count, too.
Motion - looked very controlled. I'm no scout, but everything looked to move smoothly and there didn't seem to be any wasted motions. I'd guess the control will be easy to harness.
At the end of the day, though, I think the Reds were right to keep him in the minors. To me, he doesn't look that sharp, and I'd think major leaguers would have fewer problems with him than the Mud Hens did. Still, Reds fans have every right to be excited about the guy.
Other things -
- There may have been more Cinci fans there than Mud Hens fans; they were certainly more hyped up. When Chapman came out of the clubhouse, he was greeted by 2 TV cameras (the game was not on TV), 4 photographers, and a couple of hundred fans crowded near the dugout.
Josh Anderson led off for the Bats, and Zach Cozart hit 2nd. I guess it's an organizational thing.
- Chris Valaika did Chapman no favors. Toledo's first hit (in the 2nd inning) was on a shot deep down the line where his throw pulled Dorn off the bag at 1st, though it was scored a hit (could have gone either way). In the same inning, a one-hopper off his shoulder was (very, very) generously ruled a hit, loading the bases before a routine grounder ended the threat. In the 5th, he threw a ball away, and the runner ended up being Toledo's only run. Later, another routine grounder completely ate him up, and was scored a hit. Very EdE-like day.
- Todd Frazier DHed, and didn't impress me at all - 0-3 with a walk and a K, and nothing hit particularly hard.
- As opposed to Zack Cozart, who hit the ball hard all 5 times up - a deep fly ball in the 1st, 3 doubles, and a long foul down the LF line (for anyone who's been to the Toledo edition of 5/3 Field, to the gate).
- I missed Wilkin Castillo's triple while the little brother was in the bathroom.
- If Chris Burke had struck out, one lucky row would have gotten free ice cream; while he went to 2 strikes every time up, it was not to be.
- Enerio Del Rosario looked very good; in 2 1/3 IP, he allowed 1 hit, 0 BB, and 4 K. In fact, the Bats' pitchers had a 15/1 K/BB ratio on the day, and Del Rosario/Carlos Fisher/Jon Adkins allowed 2 base runners (one double, one single erased on a DP) in relief of Chapman.
- Enrique Gonzalez started for Toledo, and was pretty lucky. The first 3 hitters hit the ball deep into the outfield (though Heisey's went somewhat deeper than just "the outfield"); many other hard hits were turned into long outs. This was one of those BABIP-unlucky days for the Bats.
Overall, it was one of those games that you couldn't get the proper reading of from the boxscore. The starting pitchers had similar lines (other than strikeouts), but Chapman was mostly in control and Gonzalez was mostly not. A break here or there, and this one would have been a blowout.