Perhaps it took a couple of hiccups to put Aroldis Chapman's season into perspective. Even after consecutive ugly outings, the kind of thing that can easily sink a normal reliever's season statistics, Chapman is posting eye-popping, historic numbers.
In his last two outings, Chapman has been touched for three earned runs -- three more than in his previous 24 appearances combined. He allowed as many hits in those two games (four) as in his previous 19 outings. Chapman, it turns out, is a human being and not a robot. But he's still the most dominant human pitching in relief in the Majors this year.
For the sake of comparison: with a couple of rough outings at the end of May, Cardinals closer Jason Motte saw his ERA rise from 2.00 to 3.43. Chapman? Yeah, his ERA soared to a ghastly, um, 0.87.
There is no other pitcher in baseball as dominant as Chapman, even after his two worst outings of the year. There is no pitcher against whom a hitter has less chance of getting on base, or against whom a hitter is more likely to strike out. Eleven times in 31 innings, a hitter has put bat on ball for a base hit. Ten times, a hitter has drawn a walk.
And 55 of the 118 batters who've faced Chapman have walked back to the dugout without even putting the ball in play. Chapman has struck out 46.6 percent of the batters he's faced, the highest percentage in the Majors of any pitcher with 25 or more innings, according to STATS Inc. The only person close is Ernesto Frieri, but the Angels right-hander has walked nearly five batters per nine innings. Chapman's walk rate is under 3.00.
As for a pitch-by-pitch basis, Chapman is getting more swings-and-misses than any other National League pitcher as well. Opposing hitters' contact rate on all swings is 60.6 percent, according to FanGraphs.com. Frieri is just a nose better, at 60.5 percent, meaning that in both pitchers' cases, nearly 40 percent of all swings have not resulted in contact.
And then there are Chapman's individual offerings. His fastball, which pushes 100 mph, has the third-highest swing-and-miss percentage of any heater in the Majors, at 40.7 percent, again according to STATS. His slider has been missed 46.4 percent of the time, the 28th-best ratio.
Matthew Leach is a writer for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.