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Reds worry about Chapman throwing too much, or too little

Reds manager Dusty Baker mentioned Tuesday during his pregame press conference he had written the letters “NTP” next to Aroldis Chapman’s name on the lineup card.

As if to prove that wasn’t something he made up on the spot, he showed the card to Hall of Fame beat writer Hal McCoy as the other writers left the room.

“NTP,” Baker said. “Needs to pitch.”

There’s a fine line with Chapman, a worry about pitching him too much or too little. Through Monday’s game, he hadn’t pitched in eight straight games. Baker would have liked to have used him Monday, but it would have been hard to take Mat Latos out. Latos pitched his first complete game of the season in a 7-2 win over the Cardinals.

“The games have been such that either we’re blowing them out, or they’re blowing us out,” Baker said. “Most of the games (in the recent stretch) were on the road. You can’t control how a guy pitches on the road the way you can at home. We were strongly considering throwing Chapman in the game (Monday), but Latos wanted it. He said he felt great. This is the Latos we’ve been trying to get to.”

Chapman (2.87 ERA, 33 saves) had appeared in 58 games through Monday, or 42 percent of the team’s 138. Last season, Chapman appeared in 68 of 162 games, right at 42 percent. He also missed time last September with a tired shoulder, but the Reds have used Chapman judiciously all season to avoid that during the stretch run this year.

“This is by design,” Baker said. “We haven’t used him more than two days in a row. One time we used him three (days in a row). We used him multiple innings one time. There are some who say he needs to pitch more, and some say he needs to pitch less. He’s been in near half the games.”

Cingrani update: Baker said Tony Cingrani will start Thursday in the final game of the series. Greg Reynolds, who made two starts as Cingrani recovered from a back injury, will be ready just in case.

Cingrani (6-3, 2.76 ERA) threw 30 pitches in a bullpen session Tuesday and pronounced himself ready. He has been on the disabled list since Aug. 25.

“I feel fine,” Cingrani said. “It’s good. Everything’s good. It kind of sucked (missing time), but Greg stepped in nicely. It would be nice to pitch against the Cardinals. I just want to get back and start throwing.”

Postseason schedule: Major League Baseball announced the schedule for the postseason on Tuesday.

If the standings remain as they were through Monday, the Reds would play the Cardinals in St. Louis on Oct. 1, in the National League Wild Card Game. The American League Wild Card Game would take place one day later.

The Wild Card Game would be two days after the Reds’ last regular-season game against the Pirates in Cincinnati. If the Reds win the division, or if they win the Wild Card Game, they would start play in the NL Division Series on Oct. 3.

Today’s game: Bronson Arroyo (13-10, 3.66 ERA) starts for the Reds in the third game of the series tonight against Shelby Miller (12-9, 3.13).

Arroyo gave up seven earned runs in 3 2/3 innings Aug. 2 in his last start against the Cardinals. Miller also pitched in that game and allowed three earned runs in five innings in a game the Cardinals won 13-3.

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