Chapman's back issue is minor; pitch selection is major
Is closer relying too much on his blazing fastball?
By THE SPORTS XCHANGEFS Ohio
Left-hander Aroldis Chapman is fine physically although Reds manager Dusty Baker mentioned earlier this week that Chapman had some lower back pain.
"I don't see it as an issue," pitching coach Bryan Price told the Cincinnati Enquirer before Wednesday's 8-1 loss to Cleveland. "He's gone in there and gotten treatment for his lower back, but he'd be like a dozen other guys who go in there and get treatment for something achy or stiff. I don't think he's ever been in a position where he's not able to pitch."
Chapman has continued to throw mostly fastballs. According to FanGraphs.com, Chapman has thrown 88.3 percent fastballs -- the third highest percentage among relievers.
Tuesday, when Chapman took the 3-2 loss and blew the save on a two-run walk-off home run by Asdrubal Cabrera, Chapman topped out at 97 mph and threw mostly at 95, 96.
"The pitches were not where I wanted and the speed wasn't there, but I felt good," Chapman said after Tuesday's game.
Chapman was so successful early this season throwing nearly all fastballs that he might have come to rely on the pitch too much.
"I think a mix is good, but when he's on and throwing with velocity and command and guys aren't hitting it, you get a little reluctant to throw the slider," Price said. "The after-effects of that is that the less he throws it, the more foreign the pitch becomes to him. The velocity fluctuations, we're probably just going to have to live with."
--2B Brandon Phillips lost his appeal on the ball he scored on in Monday's game. It was scored a double and an error on left fielder Johnny Damon. Phillips went through the appeal process, hoping it would be scored an inside-the-park home run.
--RHP Bronson Arroyo went four innings and allowed five runs on eight hits. He walked two and struck out two in the 8-1 loss to Cleveland. The outing equaled Arroyo's shorted of the year. All the damage came in the fourth, when Arroyo gave up a two-run home run to Johnny Damon and a three-run homer to Asdrubal Cabrera.
--LHP Bill Bray (groin, back) threw a scoreless inning on his rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville. The Reds will assess whether to activate Bray when they return home Friday.
--RHP Alfredo Simon allowed three runs (none earned) in 2 2/3 innings Wednesday. Simon gave up a three-run double to Lonnie Chisenhall after second base umpire Jim Wolf clearly blew a call.
--CF Drew Stubbs (strained oblique) is eligible to come off the disabled list Friday. That's unlikely to happen. There's a chance he'll go out on a rehab assignment.
BY THE NUMBERS: .122 -- Batting average of Willie Harris, the Reds' designated hitter Wednesday.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was a grind front to back. ... It was hot there and (Justin) Masterson was pitching so well that we were back out in three minutes. They dominated us on both ends." -- RHP Bronson Arroyo on the Reds' 8-1 loss to Cleveland on Wednesday.
--CF Drew Stubbs (strained left oblique) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 6.
--LHP Bill Bray (strained left groin) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 19. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Louisville on April 29, but he moved back to extended spring training in Goodyear, Ariz., after one outing. He resumed throwing May 28, and he threw a bullpen session June 1. He is on a rehab assignment at Class A Dayton.
--RHP Nick Masset (right shoulder inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26, and he was transferred to the 60-day disabled list June 15. He threw on flat ground May 24, and he threw off a mound for the first time June 16. There is no timetable for his return.
--RHP Ryan Madson (Tommy John surgery in April 2012) went on the 60-day disabled list April 4. He is out for the season.