The Cincinnati Reds hang by a string in the National League playoff race, and part of that string might be inside of the "achy" shoulder of closer Aroldis Chapman.
Chapman was not available to pitch Monday, one day after his worst performance of the season in a tough loss to the Colorado Rockies, because of soreness in his left shoulder. Chapman threw 28 pitches and walked all four batters he faced in Game 2 of a doubleheader that the Reds lost 10-9. Reds manager Bryan Price said afterward that there was nothing physically wrong with Chapman — but that was a fib. The Reds lost another tough game against St. Louis on Monday, and did not use Chapman.
Price said, via MLB.com:
"He's just a little achy, and it just doesn't make sense at all for us to keep running him out there," Price said after a 6-5 loss to St. Louis in 10 innings. "He was a little achy [Sunday]. I didn't want to say anything, but he was. By the time we knew there might be an issue, the damage was done yesterday.
"Our trainers say it's a day-to-day thing and that he could be ready to go soon. I'm not crossing him off our list for tomorrow by any means."
The Reds' bad fortune with injuries all season is a huge reason they have a 61-64 record and are five games back (behind five other teams) in the NL wild-card race. They're also nine games out in the NL Central, closer to last place than first. If everything else were functioning reasonbly, they could deal with Chapman missing some time. But all hands will be needed to stay in the race, which has fewer than 40 games to go.
Chapman has posted a 2.82 ERA with 74 strikeouts in 38 1/3 innings this season. He also has accumulated 1.9 wins above replacement.
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