A Little Unintentional Post-Break Rest May Benefit Cincinnati Reds Closer Aroldis Chapman

By Thom Tsang
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

With the Cincinnati Reds having gone 3-7 over their last team games and falling further behind of the NL Central race, I suppose there are plenty of good reasons why Aroldis Chapman hasn’t found himself on the mound a whole lot lately.

Then again, maybe the unintended rest will do the closer a little good.

Though he recorded an inning of work in an 8-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on August 3, it was his only appearance over the last five days. If you count his previous save — a two-out handshake earned on July 31, the Cuban lefty has only thrown twice over the last seven days.

That’s a little less work that the Reds’ ninth-inning man is accustomed to, but the fact is that it helped him out of a minor slump.

Now, the nature of small sample sizes for relievers mean that any ups and downs a re blown up a little more and perhaps unnecessarily extrapolated , but in six straight outings prior to the recent period of relative inactivity, Chapman was far from the shutdown reliever that Cincinnati had been used to trotting out, allowing at least a hit in those outings, walking a batter in three of them, and unsurprisingly giving up runs in three of them.

The down stretch goes back to before the All-Star break, and fact that he’d recorded only one blown save during this time is something of a minor miracle; in fact, he still managed to record four straight saves.

That said (and here’s where the small sample size comes in), this is a closer who has a 3.86/1.29 ERA WHIP and a .211 BAA over 4.2 post-break innings, a start contrast from the 2.79/1.11 and .175 mark from the first half of the season (he owned a .125/.161 BAA first/second half split in 2012). He’s struck out a whopping nine batters in those innings and is still topping triple digits, of course, meaning that it’s probably just a little speed bump.

Still, the somewhat-unintentional break he’s been giving as a result of the Reds’ losing ways may actually go a long way into keeping him fresh down the stretch, when Cincinnati could be playing for their playoff lives.

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