Aroldis Chapman is known for the devastating speed with which he can hurl the ball towards a batter. In his rookie year he set a MLB record by recording a pitch as fast as 105.1 mph during a game and has been rumored to be able to throw as high as 106 mph. Inevitably he accrues a lot of strikeouts as batter stand there baffled as the ball whizzes right past them. So most strikeouts must seem rather mundane to the Cincinnati Reds closer, however the first of the three strikeouts he got during the ninth inning Friday night was anything but mundane.
With that ninth inning strikeout of Jordy Mercer in the Reds 6-5 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chapman set an MLB record dating back to 1900. He had struck out at least one batter in 40 consecutive relief appearances. Chapman’s streak began back on August 21, 2013.
The previous record holder, Bruce Sutter, accomplished the same feat in 39 consecutive relief appearance between June 1 and October 2, 1977 when he was with the Chicago Cubs. Along his path to the record Chapman bypassed some of MLB’s greatest relief pitchers in Jeff Montgomery who got strikeouts in 32 straight games from June 18-Sept. 5, 1989 and Eric Gagne who appeared in 35 games from July 18, 2003-April 10, 2004 getting a strikeout in each.
Of reaching this latest milestone the hard throwing left-hander said through a translator,
“I’m proud and happy that I’ve got the record. Since Thursday when I learned that it was a record that I tied, it was on my mind, and now I feel happy that I have it, and I pray that I have the ability to extend the record.”
There are sure to be more records to come for the Cuban closer being that it is only his fourth full season in the majors. On possibly breaking more records in the future the four-time All-Star said,
“If another record comes around, I’d be happy. But at this point, I don’t have any other records on my mind; I don’t think about records. But when they come, I’ll take them.”