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Aroldis Champman, who is currently closing for the New York Yankees (though where he’ll be closing in the future is very much a question), has an absolute flamethrower for an arm. And what better time for him to show it off than the ninth inning of a close game against a division foe? So the Yankees called on Chapman on Monday night to protect their 2-1 lead against the Baltimore Orioles, and he blew away batters with pitches of incredible speed.
First Chapman faced Pedro Alvarez, who saw just two pitches. And according to MLB’s play-by-play (where all this data comes from), they were both 100 mph. That was just a warm-up for what was to come, though. The Orioles’ J.J. Hardy was up next, and what he experienced was, well, record breaking.
Chapman first threw Hardy two 100 mph fastballs, both for strikes. Then a 93 mph slider was fouled off, and so was a 104 mph (!!) fastball. Next Chapman threw a 103 mph fastball out of the zone, and then came The Pitch.
Of course Chapman would break his own MLB speed record. But the pitch he threw to Hardy — which for some reason didn’t have a tail of fire behind it — wasn’t completely perfect.
It was a ball, and it was really close to Hardy’s shins. (I can’t even imagine what it would feel like to be plunked by a 105.1 mph pitch.) But it was fast, and that’s all that mattered.
Chapman wouldn’t get Hardy out with one of his flamethrower pitches. It was actually a 91 mph slider that Hardy skied to the outfield. Chapman faced two more batters after Hardy, and the lowest speed he’d throw was 99 mph. All told, Chapman threw 18 pitches, and just three of them were under 100.
I’m sure someone will break Aroldis Chapman’s 105.1 mph MLB record someday. Actually, it’ll probably be Chapman himself.
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