Aroldis Chapman and the rest of the Cincinnati Reds head into the postseason with major expectations for October play. In 2010, they were just happy to be there. In 2012, they won't be happy until they are hoisting a World Series trophy over their heads.
You can bet that the health and effectiveness of one Aroldis Chapman will be a major factor in securing such an accomplishment.
Giving Mr. Chapman an extended rest (and being in position to do so) is going to pay huge dividends for the Cincinnati Reds this postseason. How is that, you may be asking? Well, look at these numbers:
The last time Cincinnati decided to rest the "Cuban Missile," he responded by reeling off 27 consecutive saves and lowered his ERA from 2.04 to 1.23. He also compiled a 56/6 strikeout to walk ratio over 30.2 innings pitched that saw him allow only only one run.
Folks, those numbers are flat out dominant.
It was this kind of performance that played a major role during Joey Votto's absence. Being able to bring Chapman in during the late innings of close games is invaluable. I mean, the numbers simply speak for themselves. But every out of every postseason game, and in particular close postseason games, is magnified to monstrous proportions, especially during late-game and close situations.
Great power arms in the pen have proven to pay huge dividends during postseason play before. Look no further than what Francisco Rodriguez did for the Angels during their run to the 2002 World Series title. He earned his nickname "K-Rod" during that performance and played a huge role in shutting out the Giants during late inning rallies.
Don't be surprised to see Chapman pitch the last five to six outs of any close games that would clinch a series for Cincinnati. The Reds will not be shy about using him for an extended period in these types of situations—especially since he will enter October well rested.
Allowing Aroldis Chapman to rest his arm for an extended period of time leading up to the postseason will turn out to be one of the best decisions Reds management has made all season. Chapman will be rested and he will dominate the 2012 postseason—you can bet on it.
You can follow Josh Ramsey on Twitter @JRamCincy