When Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman came into the game Friday evening, he was attempting to do more than just earn his 20th save of his short season. The hard-throwing lefty had an opportunity to rewrite Major League Baseball history.
Since August 21, 2013, Chapman had gone 39 straight relief appearances with at least one strikeout. He had tied Bruce Sutter, who had done the same back in 1977, on Thursday with two strikeouts against the Chicago Cubs.
With the Reds ahead 6-5 in the ninth, it took Chapman just one batter to rewrite the record books. With a 2-2 count on Jordy Mercer, Chapman whipped a 102 MPH fastball right by the right-handed batter to seal the deal. Chapman went on to strike the side to preserve the win and earn his 20th save of the season.
"I'm proud and happy that I've got the record," Chapman stated through translator Thomas Vera. "Since Thursday when I learned that it was a record that I tied, it was on my mind, and now I feel happy that I have it, and I pray that I have the ability to extend the record."
"At this point, I don't know," Chapman said. "If another record comes around, I'd be happy. But at this point, I don't have any other records on my mind; I don't think about records. But when they come, I'll take them."
The Reds have just two games remaining until Chapman and three other of his teammates head to Target Field to take part in the 2014 Major League All-Star Game.