Granted, when a pitcher can throw a 100 mph heater but loses control of it, it is far preferable for the pitch not to come anywhere near the batter. That scenario was how a 100 mph wild pitch out of the hand of Aroldis Chapman played out during Monday’s tilt between the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians. But a second 100 mph pitch from Chapman immediately afterward raises doubts that the wild pitch was not in fact wild but but a blown effort at trying to plunk a Nick Swisher with consecutive heaters.
With Aroldis Chapman facing Indians veteran Nick Swisher in the bottom of the ninth inning of Cincinnati’s 4-2 win, the Reds closer unloaded a über-fast heater that sailed 10 feet above the batter’s box and slammed into the backstop. On the subsequent pitch, Chapman threw a fastball that came a lot closer to Swisher, igniting some hostility between the teams as well as Chapman and Swisher.
The aftermath of the potentially ugly incident, as chronicled by Cleavland Plain Dealer Indians beat reporter Paul Hoynes:
Swisher stepped out of the box and started yelling at Chapman as the Indians bench jumped to the top rail.
Asked what he said to Chapman, Swisher said, “I can’t remember. What did he say?”
Chapman told a reporter, “I don’t speak English.”
“The first one I saw go by and I said, ‘Wow, that’s pretty quick’ ” said Swisher. “The second one was a little too close for comfort. Let’s be honest. . . . 100 mph at somebody’s head is not exactly the best thing.
“Either way it was nice to see all those guys in the dugout. They had my back. I do know if something happens, they’ll be right behind me.”
Swisher took another 100-mph strike before lining out to the track in left center.
When asked about the swing, Swisher said, “I’m going to take a step back here because I’m really getting fired up.”
And the video, via “Tom Hamilton has the Best Home Run call in all of Baseball” Facebook page:
Boy, it sure as heck looks like Chapman was throwing at Swisher, especially on the second pitch.
A GIF originally found on Cincinnati.com shows Swisher warning Chapman about throwing so recklessly, saying something along the lines of “Don’t do that.”
Ugly stuff. But it could have been much, much uglier, especially for Swisher and his cranium. And likely after that, for Chapman as well. Or, if not him, one of his teammates in a subsequent at-bat. Hoo boy.
Maybe there’s some bad blood between Swisher and Chapman that we don’t know about. Perhaps Swisher is somehow interfering with Chapman’s steady supply of Cuban pastries. I don’t know how that could be the case, but I suppose it’s possible.