CLEVELAND -- Is there life after 42 pitches? That’s the question for Aroldis Chapman after the most stressful postseason appearance of his big-league career, Sunday in Game 5 of this World Series.
So obviously, there are questions about how the Cubs’ closer will bounce back and how much he would be available in Games 6 and 7. For what it’s worth, that has never been a problem for him in the past.
Let's start with just the last two seasons. Chapman has thrown 30-plus pitches six times in 2015 and 2016 (not counting the game Sunday). How many runs has he allowed in his next visit to the mound? That would be zero.
Twice, he came back THE NEXT DAY after throwing at least 30 pitches -- including an outing the day after he unloaded a career-high 44 pitches on July 19, 2015. How did he do in that game? He fired a 1-2-3 inning with two K's. Yep. Of course he did.
Here's the breakdown by days of rest after Chapman threw at least 30 pitches:
0 days -- 2 G (2 IP, 1 hit, 0 runs, 2 K)
2 days -- 1 G (1 IP, 0 hit, 0 runs, 2 K)
3 days -- 2 G (3 IP, 1 hit, 0 runs, 6 K)
5 days -- 1 G (1 IP, 0 hit, 0 runs, 2 K)
TOTALS -- 6 G (7 IP, 2 hits, 0 runs, 12 K)
Even if we take a wider view, Chapman has always shown the ability to bounce back, no matter how many pitches he throws. Sunday was the 20th time in his big-league career that he has thrown at least 30 pitches. After the previous 19, he has been scored on in the next outing only ONCE. That was 18 outings ago, back on May 5, 2011.
So his career ERA, in games after throwing 30-plus pitches, is 0.52 (17 1/3 IP, 1 ER). Nine of those appearances came on either one or no days' rest. If Joe Maddon is wondering whether his closer has anything left in the tank after those 42 pitches, we know what history tells us:
Chapman is still his best option, no matter how many pitches he had to fire last time out.