The Cincinnati Reds' starters are pitching like we thought they would going into the season, including, yes, Aaron Harang.
But the Reds have an unexpected problem. The bullpen, more specifically the middle relievers, are pitching like kids dropped on their heads as babies.
The back-end is fine. Coco Cordero is lights out. And if Arthur Rhodes keeps it up, he may be the first eighth-inning guy to win a Cy Young Award.
Daniel Ray Herrera has been fine for the two or three batters he faces, and Micah Owings is doing alright in the mop-up role.
Everybody else's stuff is absolutely filthy. And not filthy good, filthy like a sock that's been worn for three straight days.
Nick Masset's ERA is currently 11.45 with opponents hitting .367 while already surrendering three long balls in 11 games. Carlos Fisher, brought up to replace Logan Ondrusek, makes fans long for the days of Paul Janish on the rubber.
Compared to Masset and Fisher, Mike Lincoln is tossing All-Star caliber baseball. But he seemed to get hurt on Saturday for the first of 34 times this season.
Want a simple solution Reds' fans?
Call Aroldis Chapman. Stick him in the pen this season—maybe give the kid a spot start every now and then.
This is hardly an original idea. The Minnesota Twins did it with Johan Santana, and the Toronto Blue Jays did the same with Roy Halladay—both teams knowing that their futures would be as starting pitchers.
Why not try the same with Chapman? What's with the wait?
Our starters (thank you, Bryan Price) have begun getting ahead in counts. However, unless Mike Leake starts every night, the Reds can't count on this day-in and day-out.
So what happens when Johnny Cueto or Homer Bailey run a huge pitch count by the end of the fifth? We can't run Micah to the mound every time.
Give Chapman two-innings. Let him blister opponents with triple digits. And then hit the back end.
Even though hitting the back end sounds sleazy, it's a better option than looking at Fisher or Masset.
If Lincoln is healthy either send Fisher down for good, or demote Masset to get in some sort of groove that halfway resembles his 2009 season.
Masset will be ruined if he doesn't (very soon) get some confidence back. And Fisher, to put it kindly, just does not have big league talent.
The Reds have a $30 mill guy on the farm. He's pitching well. Doubtful well enough to get through five innings of major league ball.
But Chapman, like Santana and Halladay, could be our two inning stud before next season when we'll see him as a starter.
So General Manager, Walt Jocketty, get on the phone!
Your watch is telling you something.
It's Aroldis o'clock.
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