Aroldis Chapman(notes) was summoned from the bullpen one batter too late to make a difference in the game. No matter. The 22-year-old Cincinnati Reds left-hander made do by making history Friday night, throwing the fastest pitch recorded in a major league game, a 105-mph fastball.
Ardolis Chapman's 25 pitches on Friday night (each registering 100 mph or faster, including his record-breaking 105 mph heater) must have been a blur to Padres batters.
The blazing pitch pushed a white-hot pennant race to the back burner. Yes, the San Diego Padres won the game 4-3 to pull ahead of the Atlanta Braves in the National League wild-card race. Sure, the San Francisco Giants all but buried the Colorado Rockies thanks to a dominant performance by Tim Lincecum(notes).
But the lingering memory was of a now-you-see-it, did-I-actually-see-it fastball to Tony Gwynn(notes) in the eighth inning. The pitch was not a fluke: Chapman threw 25 pitches in his 1 1/3 innings of relief, and every one was at least 100 mph. He didn’t throw a slider. He didn’t throw a changeup. Why would he?
The 105-mph pitch was inside for a ball and evened the count at 2-2. Gwynn had fouled off the previous two pitches and fouled off the next before striking out. He ought to be pleased with his effort, forcing Chapman to make seven pitches, the slowest of which was 102 mph.