All eyes are going to be on the radar gun tonight in Coca-Cola Field as Cuban hurler Aroldis Chapman is on the mound for Louisville against the Bisons. The left-hander is 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA in his four starts, with 22 strikeouts and 12 walks in 21 innings.
Chapman hit 102 mph on the gun in his most recent start last week at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The fastest anyone has ever hit here was 102, by former Toledo reliever Matt Anderson. Bartolo Colon once brought his fastball to 101. So this should be interesting.
Keep it on this post for updates on Chapman's outing. He'll be trying to break Louisville's nine-game losing streak while the Bisons are trying to win their fifth in a row.
Here's the Buffalo lineup:
Jesus Feliciano, lf
Andy Green, 3b
Fernando Martinez, cf
Mike Hessman, 1b
Chris Carter, rf
Omir Santos, c
Alex Cintron, ss
Ruben Tejada, 2b
Tobi Stoner, p
Buf-1st: So that's what all the fuss is about. Chapman hit 100 mph twice in a 1-2-3 inning, including a wicked fastball on the outside corner that leadoff man Jesus Feliciano took for a called third strike. When the "100 mph" flashed on the message board, there were audible gasps and applause from the crowd. Chapman threw 12 pitches and 10 were 97 mph or above. Ten also went for strikes. The Bats scored a run in the top of the first off Tobi Stoner and lead, 1-0.
Mid-2nd: Chapman, of all people, puts the Bats into a 2-0 lead with a two-out RBI double past third into the left-field corner. Reds folk can exhale because he went in standing up. It's his second hit for the Bats and first for extra bases.
End-2nd: Chapman got Mike Hessman on a fly ball to center before walking Chris Carter. Omir Santos (popup to second) and Alex Cintron (liner to center) then were retired on the first pitch. Top speeds of that inning were two deliveries at 98. Two innings: 25 pitches, 18 strikes, 12 at 97 mph or above.
Mid-3rd: Herd starter Tobi Stoner didn't rise to the occasion of facing Chapman. He's gone after 2 2/3, giving up five runs on 11 hits -- two to Chapman as the Bats starter singled as part of the three-run third. The Bats added one more on an error on Buffalo third baseman Andy Green but Chapman was out trying to go first-to-third on the ball, again not sliding. Bats lead, 6-0. Louisville has 11 hits. Buffalo has none off Chapman.
End-3rd: Feliciano gets Buffalo's first hit, a two-out double to right-center on a 97-mph heater. Chapman had struck out Ruben Tejada on and 84-mph slider and then fanned reliever Adam Pettyjohn on a 3-2 fastball clocked at 92. It was Pettyjohn's first at-bat of the season. Poor guy. No way he came to the park tonight expecting to hit against Chapman. Andy Green took a 1-1 pitch near the chin at 99 mph. Yeesh. One pitch later, he swung through a 100-mph offering for strike three. Chapman struck out the side in that inning. He's allowed one hit and struck out four through three innings: 43 pitches, 29 strikes, 17 at 97 mph or above, three at 100.
End-4th: The Bats got one in the top of the inning but the Bisons solved Chapman in the bottom with five runs on six hits to make it a 7-5 game. Chapman seemed to fall apart after Alex Cintron's strikeout/passed ball on catcher Corky Miller scored Buffalo's second run. Ruben Tejada, pitcher Adam Pettyjohn and Feliciano followed with RBI singles. Chapman threw 33 pitches in that inning, 19 for strikes. He's at 76-50 through four. Highest one on the gun was his first pitch, a 100-mph ball to Martinez. 76 pitches, 50 strikes, 22 at 97 or above, four at 100.
Mid-5th: The Bats just answered with six runs on four hits to go up 13-5. Seriously. Chapman walked and scored in the inning. He's 2 for 2 with a walk in the game. It's only taken 1:54 to play 4 1/2 innings -- or nine minutes longer than R.A. Dickey's one-hitter Thursday night.
End-5th: The Bisons get another run to make it 13-6 and Chapman is out after 99 pitches, 65 strikes, 23 at 97 or above and four at 100. His final line will be 5-9-6-6-1-8. His ERA will go from 1.29 to 3.12. He had allowed just six runs combined (only three earned) in his previous four starts. The eight strikeouts were one shy of his season high.
Chapman's fastball is dynamite, big-league ready for sure. His secondary stuff was all over the place tonight. Allows batters to sit and wait for a fastball. Buffalo hitters really caught up to him the second time through the order.
Mid-6th: The Bats score five more runs -- all after two out -- to make it 18-6. That equals the all-time record for runs by one team in the ballpark's 23 seasons. Louisville has 21 hits, one shy of the ballpark mark. Yeesh.
Mid-8th: Louisville leads, 20-7. The Bats have broken the ballpark records for both runs and hits (24). The modern-era records against Buffalo are 22 runs (by Oklahoma City in 1987) and 25 hits (by Omaha in 1985). The Bats have 11 doubles and two home runs. One inning to go.
Final: Bats win, 20-7, with 24 hits.