Monday, May 16, 2011

Stat Line of the Day: May 16th

A. Chapman (CIN): 0.1 IP, 0 H, 4 R (4 ER), 4 BB vs. Cardinals
Chapman, shown here in Spring Training, has
an electric arm--and some accuracy issues
It's been a little while since we've had an epically bad stat line be our Line of the Day, but this was just too bad to leave out. Aroldis Chapman, if you haven't heard of him, is the Cincinnati Reds flamethrow who's been clocked at 105.1 mph, the fastest speed a baseball has ever been thrown. Unfortunately, last night, his ability to throw hard didn't exactly help him out in the 9th inning of a win over the St. Louis Cardinals--a win that ended up being much closer than it needed to be. Chapman threw just five strikes against 18 balls, which helps explain the four walks without a single hit--three on 3-1 counts, and the fourth on a 3-0. The accuracy issues are not a new problem for the Cuban righty, who has walked 20 batters in just 13 innings against just six hits--a WHIP of 2.00 even as hitters are just .143 when facing Chapman. Now, he is still just 23 years old, so the ceiling is still incredibly high--but this is a really bad sign. We're not just talking about poor control, we're talking about game-ruiningly poor control. Last night, he entered the game with a 9-2 lead in the top of the 9th inning, and managed to leave with a 9-3 lead and the bases loaded, having walked four of the five batters he faced. The Reds shouldn't need to use their closer in a game they're winning 9-2, but Chapman forced their hand, and that could definitely hurt them in some games down the road.

Honorable Mentions

J. Bautista (TOR): 3-5, 3 R, 4 RBI, 3 HR vs. Twins
If we hadn't just had a three home run night the other night from Carlos Beltran, I might have felt a little more excited about Jose Bautista doing the same thing last night. However, they weren't all two-run shots like Beltran's, so Jose gets stuck with an Honorable Mention so we can spotlight the accuracy problems of Aroldis Chapman. Bautista's third home run, in the sixth inning (after one each in the 3rd and 4th) made the margin 11-3, which also happened to be the final score of that game.

R. Westbrook (OKC): 14 points, 10 rebounds (6 offensive), 14 assists vs. Grizzlies
The Thunder won game seven of their series with the Memphis Grizzlies by 21 points, and Russell Westbrook put up a +/- of 19. Coincidence? Probably, but that doesn't say that Westbrook wasn't very important for his team in their series-clinching victory. A triple-double in the biggest game of his young career was huge, almost as big as teammate Kevin Durant's game-leading 39 points. The Thunder advance to face the Dallas Mavericks in the conference finals, and Westbrook will be a huge cog in that series.

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