Aroldis Chapman #54 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates after the final out of the 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Specifically, the Cincinnati Reds are worried about Aroldis Chapman because a) he's not pitched well in his last couple of relief outings, in which b) he didn't throw nearly as hard as he usually throws. Which, as you know, is awfully hard.
Just a blip for the Cuban Missile? Maybe not. Monday night against the Pirates, Chapman entered a tie game in the 10th inning and walked the bases loaded. His control was off, his speed down. From MLB.com:
Chapman's top speed in his 22-pitch appearance (seven of which were strikes) was 97 mph, but several of his pitches were 93-94 mph. And that had the Reds worried.
"Yeah, because his velocity was down," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He didn't have any pain. He might be a little tired. We might have to rest him for a while here. He was analyzed by a doctor. The doctor said his shoulder is fatigued. We've got to take care of him."
If Chapman had any legitimate shot at the Cy Young Award, that's probably gone away; a relief pitcher has to be almost perfect to get any real love from the voters, and Chapman's been quite imperfect twice in a row.
About which Dusty Baker probably couldn't care less. He probably cares quite a lot about having Chapman his usual 100-throwing self in time for, and throughout, the postseason, though. So we might see the Reds' closer get some time off. They've got the biggest lead in the majors. They can survive without their closer for a few days.