Facing the team that originally drafted him, Chapman walked the only batter he pitched to last night. That helped the Royals stage a seventh inning rally that tied the game. Kansas City would go on to win in eleven innings.
Unable to duplicate the success he enjoyed as a rookie last season, Chapman was starting to look like a left-handed version of Hector Ambriz. Walks have been the biggest issue. Chapman has issued seven free passes in only 3 & 2/3 innings this season.
Raul Valdes (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
Actually, this is nothing new for the hard throwing lefty. Chapman has averaged five walks per nine innings during his minor league career. That is a number that must be improved upon for Chapman to have sustained success in the big leagues. Hopefully Kevin can work out his problems at the AAA level and come back to help the Astros later in the season.
Veteran Raul Valdes has been summoned to replace Chapman as the lone left-hander in the Astros bullpen. The 36-year old native of Cuba has pitched in the big leagues for the Mets, Cardinals, Yankees, and Phillies.
Valdes was DFA’d by the Astros earlier this spring and passed through waivers unclaimed. Don’t expect Valdes to be a big improvement over Chapman. Left-handed relief seems to be one of the bigger weaknesses in Houston this season. Maybe he can at least throw some strikes.