I would say I “saw” Aroldis Chapman throw a 102 MPH fastball tonight in his Major League Baseball debut, but it’s more like I “heard” it.
The Cincinnati Reds’ 22-year-old phenom pitched a perfect inning of relief in the Reds’ 8-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers as they surged to seven games ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals for first place in the NL Central. (The Cards continue to fly into windows as they got shut out by the Houston Astros 3-0 for the second straight night on Wednesday, marking their fourth-straight loss. Tony LaRussa must have lost his HGH/steroid hookup. Something just isn’t right in the Gateway to the West.)
Anyway, back to the man who has been quickly dubbed the “Cuban Missile.” He is the real deal and appears to have a lot of moxie to go with his unbelievable arm.
In his lone strikeout (the other two outs were jam-shot weak groundouts), he started off Jonathan Lucroy with a 98 MPH on a delivery as smooth as they come. He then cranked it up to 102 on his next fastball, looking very Randy Johnson-like. Chapman then sent Lucroy back to the dugout with a nasty slider – becoming the first victim of the Cuban Missile Crisis. (No, the cheesy puns are not going to get old. Not when there is a lefty throwing 100-plus.)
Not that it wasn’t already time to get really excited if you’re a Reds fan – the team is going to start the month of September with a seven-game lead. However, “Chapmania” has just begun and it yet another thing that has made the 2010 Reds one of the most-intriguing stories in all of MLB.