CINCINNATI -- Reds closer Aroldis Chapman has long electrified and been effective with his 100-plus-mph fastball velocity. Another tool in his bag of tricks, a slower one, has proved almost as dazzling to watch lately.
Chapman has developed his changeup more this season, and it was highly effective Friday, when he notched his fourth save of the season during a 5-3 Reds win over the Cardinals.
After Chapman struck out first batter Matt Adams with a 102-mph fastball, his first pitch to next batter Jhonny Peralta was an 88-mph changeup that produced a swing and big miss. The next pitch was a 90-mph changeup that Peralta also whiffed on for strike two. Chapman followed with 101-mph heat and got a grounder to third base for the second out. In a three-pitch sequence to final batter Shane Robinson, Chapman's second pitch was an 89-mph changeup.
"He came in and threw a lot of changeups in Spring Training before his [facial] injury, and he continued to do so along his rehab trail," Reds manager Bryan Price said on Saturday. "And it's a good changeup; it's a really good changeup. I do believe that it's going to be a much more substantial part of his repertoire than we've ever seen before, because not only is it a good pitch, it's a controllable pitch for him, and it certainly plays well for a guy on those days when maybe he doesn't have that plus-plus-plus velocity."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.