The Reds invested $30 million in a "Missile" and lately it's been misfiring. Cue the collateral damage.
Left-hander Aroldis Chapman, the 23-year old owner of a rich contract and at times a 105-mph fastball, couldn't locate the strike zone with Google maps and a GPS.
Manager Dusty Baker insists Chapman can work out his troubles at the Major League level, and what better time to test the waters than with the Reds ahead 9-2 in the ninth inning on Sunday.
Twenty three pitches. Five strikes.
Chapman faced five batters and walked four, quickly turning a rout into a nail-biting 9-7 victory.
"We just have to figure out what's wrong with Chapman," Baker said. "You've got to work and that's what he's been doing. He's working before the game ... trying to find his release point. We just have to go back and try to figure out what we're going to do at this point. We don't know."
Chapman has walked 20 in 13 innings and owns a 6.92 ERA in 16 outings.
"The word is getting around the league now because they were just up there taking," Baker said.
The Cardinals had no intention of swinging. Not down by seven runs in the ninth. Not knowing that the book on Chapman is that the home plate umpire takes a coffee break when he comes trotting in.
It would seem the Reds have enough depth in pitching that it isn't necessary to sap Chapman's confidence at the Major League level. Baker said Chapman won't be demoted, although he does have options.
Chapman's problems are mechanical and can be fixed, so says Reds pitching coach Bryan Price, a.k.a Missile repairman.
You always want guys who are more pitchers than throwers. Chapman's issue right now is far worse. He's an aimer.