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Aroldis Chapman sets MLB record with strikeout in 40th straight relief appearance

Jul 12, 2014, 10:22 AM EDT

Aroldis Chapman Getty Getty Images

Reds closer Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the ninth inning last night against the Pirates to finish off his 20th save of the season. And he made some history in the process.

Chapman now holds the MLB record with at least one strikeout in 40 consecutive relief appearances. The streak dates back to last season. The previous record was held by Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter, who went 39 consecutive appearances with a strikeout in 1977. Former Dodgers closer Eric Gagne had 35 straight appearances with a strikeout from 2003-2014. Chapman is also fourth on the list, as he went 34 consecutive appearances with a strikeout from 2011-2012. But now he’s the top dog.

Chapman got a late start on the season after he was hit in the face by a comebacker during spring training, but he has been nothing short of sensational since returning. Averaging 100 mph (!) on his fastball, he has a 2.20 ERA over 28 2/3 innings to go along with a 57/10 K/BB ratio. Just to put things in perspective, Chapman has faced 108 batters this season. He has struck out 52.8 percent of them. That’s insane.

  1. hushbrother - Jul 12, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    That’s great, but he should be a starter.

    • xsherr - Jul 12, 2014 at 11:24 AM

      He could be a starter, but he’s doing an amazing job closing, why shake it up?

      • whatacrocker - Jul 12, 2014 at 5:01 PM

        Because a good starter is far more valuable than a great reliever.

    • mazblast - Jul 12, 2014 at 6:10 PM

      Given the team’s track record at turning closers into starters and ruining them for both jobs (Scott Williamson, Danny Graves), they may be gun-shy about trying it again.

      The guy has two pitches, not three, and if he can get even one over the plate, he’s darned tough. I’m not a Reds fan, but I see him often enough to know he’s good at his current job and shouldn’t be switched.

      • klingonj - Jul 13, 2014 at 11:03 AM

        Im a Yankees fan and I have seen when they try to convert relievers into starters. not pretty. You have a guy thats dominant- do not cut the golden goose open.

  2. beepbeepbeeplgb - Jul 12, 2014 at 11:15 AM

    that’s great, but i wish rizzo would have beat his ass the other day.

  3. booboo31 - Jul 12, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    Ya definitely keep him as a reliever, it’s where he will flourish long term

  4. cincinata - Jul 12, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    Chapman could be a starter except for one thing. He is not so good after 2 innings. I think he will have to pace himself in order to get more innings. He doesn’t seem to want to do that, or he maybe ineffective pacing himself, who knows. He is doing great in the pen, and until he can learn how to pitch, rather than just throw 101(plus), he will never start. No one in history has been able to throw that hard for more than an inning or two. He may prefer to just come in in the 9th for saves. OK by me.

    • mazblast - Jul 12, 2014 at 6:11 PM

      +1 on this, plus I’ve rarely seen evidence that he has a third pitch, something almost all starters need.

  5. genericcommenter - Jul 12, 2014 at 8:52 PM

    That’s good for him. If he keeps working, maybe he could be as good as Dellin Betances.

  6. papacrick - Jul 13, 2014 at 12:32 AM

    Wow I didn’t know Gagne still played and it took him 11 years to make 35 relief appearances

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