BOSTON -- The one trip reliever Kevin Chapman was looking forward to more than any other on the schedule this year was the one to Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium. Chapman has spent most of the season at Triple-A, so it appeared he was going to miss out.
But the lefty got the call late Thursday night that he was heading to Boston to join the Astros, which meant nearly a full day of traveling from Fresno, Calif., before getting to Fenway Park at 5 p.m. ET on Friday.
"I got a couple of hours of sleep," Chapman said.
The Astros called him up to bolster a bullpen that could be without lefty Darin Downs for a couple of days while he deals with soreness in his oblique. Chapman has been of the top relievers in the Pacific Coast League this year, going 2-1 with a 1.23 ERA in 43 appearances. He's struck out 64 in 44 innings.
"One of the adjustments we talked to him about was being able to have fastball command," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "He's got plus velocity and plus stuff, but … if you don't throw strikes in this league, you're going to be in trouble. That's the adjustments he's going to need to make. He's been throwing the ball really well down there, but we need to get Major League hitters out."
Chapman says he has more confidence than he had when he was the club in two stints earlier this year, when he posted a 11.12 ERA in seven games.
"I just think it's consistency and getting ahead of hitters and throwing strikes," he said. "That's the biggest thing, just doing that. If I can do that, I've been pretty successful."
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said Chapman is ready for the opportunity.
"He's got the stuff to get guys out and we know that," he said. "He's got much more confidence when he's pitching at Triple-A and uses all of his weapons and throws strikes and gets ahead of hitters. In the past, he gets nervous and nibbles a little bit and falls behind in the count, and the strike zone here is really tight and he's facing really good hitters and the next thing you know, he's walked a guy or the guy has gotten hits."