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Crime Scene Part One

June 24, 2012

(Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Could the Reds have a Cuban Missile Crisis on their hands? Yes. Or do they? Maybe.

Let’s take a look at Aroldis Chapman’s stats in his first 21 games:

APRIL:

  • 2-0
  • 5 hits
  • 21 strikeouts
  • 4 walks
  • ERA: 0.00
MAY:
  • 2-0
  • 3 saves
  • 2 hits
  • 23 strikeouts
  • 4 walks
  • ERA: 0.00
Now let’s look at Chapman’s stats this month:
JUNE:
  • 0-4
  • 9 hits
  • 3 home runs
  • 18 strikeouts
  • 3 walks
  • ERA: 7:71

Dusty Baker and everyone else on the Reds staff say Chapman’s most recent numbers are just a sign that he’s human, which is just ridiculous, because he’s clearly not. I’d say Chapman’s most recent numbers are a sign that something is wrong. Whether it’s physical or mental, it’s hard to deny that something went wrong on June 7 (his first loss) and hasn’t been the same since.

You don’t go from total dominance to completely vulnerable in the blink of an eye unless something changed. And opposing teams aren’t getting cheap hits off of Chapman–they’re crushing doubles off the wall and hitting home runs. Again, for a guy who was unhittable (almost literally unhittable), for the first two months of the season, then have four losses in June… well, draw your own conclusions.

Apparently Chapman is suffering from a lower back issue. He says it’s not an issue, the Reds say it’s not an issue, and I tend to believe them based on how hard he threw his glove into the dugout after today’s botched save. So, what do you do with him? Whether it’s physical or mental I think the Reds need to put Chapman on the DL–and put him on the DL now–to either rest his back or ease his mind. Recall J.J. Hoover, put Marshall back in the closer role (temporarily) and see what happens. The more Chapman continues to get rocked the harder it’s going to be for him to recover, so deal with the issue now before it’s too late.

But what do I know?*

By the way, don’t let the Minnesota Twins’ impressive 29-42 record fool you, either–they are not a good team. Yet they just came into Great American Ball Park and took two of three from the Reds. They’ve now lost five of the last six games since that six-game winning streak that seems so long ago.

*Not much.
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