From what we saw in the early going here Monday night, Aroldis Chapman was worth every penny of the $30 million the Cincinnati Reds paid him. I've been coming to the ballpark since it opened in 1988 and only Bartolo Colon's no-hitter in 1997 showcased a more dominant fastball than Chapman had the first three innings. And Colon wasn't hitting 100 mph on the radar gun either.
That said, the Bisons caught up to Chapman the second time through the order. His slider and changeup were not big-league quality on this night. That allowed them to sit and wait for fastballs. You can hit 95-98 mph if you're just waiting for it and the Herd did during its five-run fourth.
If you missed our live blog from the game,you can catch up with it here.
A learning experience. It will be like that from time to time for Chapman, who nonetheless seems destined for a long major-league career. Good to see folks lining the bullpen to watch him warm up. Those paying close attention who came early to get a good view will always remember this night when he's up in the big leagues.
Chapman has huge -- and I mean huge -- hands and incredibly long fingers. He came to his postgame press conference wearing a huge gold watch and bracelet and a diamond earring as well as top-shelf shoes and sweater. He was smiling and friendly during a 13-minute exchange with the media that went until nearly 11 p.m.
It's like this in every city for him. And it will certainly be multiplied many times over when he gets to the major leagues. Reds fans should be happy they have a gem. I would expect him to get plenty of starts in Cincinnati in the second half of this season and he will be a huge story to watch in the bigs down the road.
---Louisville's 20 runs set a ballpark record, breaking the mark of 18 set by Pawtucket in 1998. The Bats' 24 hits broke the mark of 22 downtown, set by two previous Buffalo opponents. The Herd's modern-era record for runs against is 22 (in a 22-6 loss to Oklahoma City at War Memorial Stadium in 1987), and the most hits it has allowed is 25 against Omaha in 1985, also at the Rockpile.
Said manager Ken Oberkfell: "It just happens. It's unfortunate we scored the five runs [in the fourth] and gave it right back the next inning [when the Bats scored six in the fifth]. It took the wind out of us. The good thing about this game is that it's just one game, it's over with and no one got hurt."
---The 27 combined runs were the third-highest in the ballpark's 23 seasons. Buffalo won the top two games, 17-16 over Scranton in 1998 and 15-14 over Pawtucket in 2007 (thanks to its memorable nine-run ninth)
---The Bisons conclude the homestand Tuesday night when knuckleballer R.A. Dickey takes the mound. It's his first start since Thursday's, 1-hour, 45-minute one-hitter against Durham. Since then, we've endured Friday's 3:30 marathon against Durham and Monday's 3:29 special that seemed destined for four hours until we zipped through the final two innings.
Photo: Chapman works against the Herd Monday/James P. McCoy-Buffalo News
taggedBisons | Major leagues