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Chapman mixes in slider to continue hot streak

Chapman mixes in slider to continue hot streak

Chapman mixes in slider to continue hot streak

CHICAGO -- In netting his 28th save by striking out the side and closing a 2-0 Reds win over the Cubs, Aroldis Chapman continued a dominant streak. Chapman has retired his last seven batters with strikeouts and 10 of his last 12, while converting his fourth straight save chance. He has saved 10 of his last 11 opportunities and 20 of his last 22.

Against Chicago, Chapman demonstrated command of a nasty slider and used it for six of his 14 pitches. Facing Dioner Navarro, the lefty threw a 101-mph fastball for ball three before freezing Navarro on a called strike three with a 90-mph slider.

"It definitely helps to be able to work ahead, because it gives him the opportunity to throw a secondary pitch like his slider," Reds pitching coach Bryan Price said. "He doesn't really use it as a pitch to use as a backwards pitch, 1-0 or 2-1, to get back into a count. He could have yesterday, because his command of it was so good. It was inevitable it's going to be a pitch that evolves for him to remain as consistent as he's been so far."

Monday was the polar opposite of an outing Chapman had on May 3 at Wrigley Field -- one of his worst performances of the season. After inheriting a 6-2 lead in the ninth and in a non-save situation, he allowed three runs on four hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning. J.J. Hoover had to get the final out for the save.

"These guys, at times, have given him some trouble, including this year," Price said. "A lot of it was he had a real heavy fastball, out-over-the-plate type of approach. They just did a real good job of putting it into play.

"This is one of those teams, I think, where you can't just throw them all fastballs. You have to be able to mix pitches and change speeds. I think Devin [Mesoraco] and Chappy were smart enough to know that going into the game yesterday."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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