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Saturday, May 29, 2010

No Cause for Concern, Right?

The plan was to go to bed early and read all about the game this morning. Just for yuks, I set the auto shutoff on my XM and settled in for some sleep. Two and a half hours later, I was white-knuckling as Matt Capps worked his way through a very interesting ninth.

San Diego's radio crew is an interesting listen. A little goofy, but they were prepared and knew a good bit about the Nationals. They were raving about Capps' stuff and the year he's having, etc.

And the pitch that struck out Stairs? Oh my. To hear their call, it might have been the best pitch in the history of baseball.

They even said he got squeezed on a couple of pitches in the inning. "How was that not a strike?" one asked. I can only imagine what Rob was saying. "The pitch track shows *** well, never mind the pitch track, the umps aren't doing their jobs."

That Capps got out of a bases-loaded situation with little damage is pretty impressive. That he got into it is what kept me awake a little longer than I wanted. I wanted to look up a few things.

Capps is 17-18 in save situations this year. I'll take it, every time. He's been a Godsend on a team that needed someone like him in the worst way. I have friends who are Pirates fans and they call me and curse every time Capps saves a game.

Here's my worry: Capps has only given up eight earned runs this season. Six have come in the past five outings, including two in his lone blown save last week against Baltimore.

Just one of those things, right? That's the only time it's done any real damage and the Nats won the game anyway.

No reason for concern, right?

On the other side, looks like Tyler Clippard is over whatever was ailing him. That's five in a row now without giving up a run. Only two hits and he's struck out seven in that stretch.

Of course, last time I wrote about Clippard is when the trouble started. So I'll stop now.

Clippard and Capps, by the way, are not pitching in Richmond next week. I checked before I got too excited.

3 comments:

Hendo said...

It feels to me as if Capps has been regressing to the mean. Some of his early saves this season were just wicked; last night's was messier than average. Unless he's losing command (which I doubt since he hasn't walked a guy in over a month) or velocity, I'm not going to worry very much.

bdrube said...

There are streaky hitters, so why not streaky relief pitchers? Remember, Capps was doing the cardiac thing early in the year after having a terrible spring.

The fact is, last night's game gives me some comfort. He put as much pressure on himself as he possibly could have by loading the bases, but he didn't crumble. That is the mark of a guy who has the fearless mentality needed to be a great closer. Just imagine what Hanrahan would have done in that situation.

Is he the best closer out there? Not hardly. But for this team, he is exactly what we need to bridge the gap until Storen is ready to take over.

MikeHarris said...

That was of the SD radio crew's positive rant about Capps - to get in trouble and then come back with that slider showed a ridiculous amount of confidence in his stuff, regardless of situation. And that's a good thing.

I don't know if Slaten is a mirage but the bullpen is rounding into a pretty nice collection of reliable pitchers. Not perfect yet but I don't know if the perfect bullpen is possible.