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Archive for August 27th, 2011

Chris Capuano, now a Met, pitches a 2-hit shutout

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Former Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Chris Capuano, now 33 years of age, pitched a 2-hit shutout in New York for his new team, the New York Mets, last night.  Capuano did this knowing full well that Hurricane Irene was on its way and won easily, 6-0, against the Atlanta Braves.

As the story from the New York Times said: 

While the storm commanded headlines, Capuano’s superb performance got attention at Citi Field. He threw a two-hit shutout, striking out a career-high 13 and walking none.

“I was able to get ahead and just finish some guys off,” Capuano said. “It just felt really good.”

The Times story also pointed out that Capuano did not fret about the weather before Friday evening’s game as many of his teammates (quite understandably) did.  Capuano’s serenity paid off, as he took a no-hit bid into the 5th inning before Dan Uggla got the first hit off Capuano, a single.

Here’s a bit more from the story:

Capuano threw at least 65 percent of his pitches for strikes in all but three innings, according to data from the Web site pitch f/x. He effectively used his changeup, which generated swinging strikes more than 25 percent of the time.

Capuano said his trust in catcher Josh Thole was an important element of his outing.

“I took a little different mental approach tonight,” said Capuano, who improved to 10-11. “I really tried not to shake off too much and just stayed in a good rhythm. I let Josh call the game back there, and it worked out.”

This was by far the best game Capuano has pitched since his return to the big leagues last year for the Brewers.

As I said last year when “Cappy” returned to the Brewers after rehabilitation from a second “Tommy John” surgery, I knew it was only a matter of time before he’d regain his complete pitching form.  But now, it looks like he’s done so, and the Mets are the beneficiaries of taking a chance on him.

“Cappy,” when he’s on, pitches lights-out in the same way future Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux used to (Maddux, like “Cappy,” never had blazing speed; he instead had pinpoint control).  He’s also one of the most professional, put-together ballplayers around, as shown by going out the night before he knew a huge hurricane was on the way that was about to postpone the rest of the baseball series and pitch a two-hit, complete game shutout.

Note that called Capuano’s performance last night “one of the best games in (Mets) franchise history.”  And on that article page is a link to last night’s “Baseball Tonight” show on ESPN where the commentators talk about how good it is when a veteran like Capuano can “persevere” through two major arm surgeries, which just goes to show you how important persistence — along with faith and belief in yourself — can be in overcoming nearly any obstacle.

The only odd thing about Capuano’s game last night from my perspective (being a long-time observer of his pitching style) is that “Cappy” struck out thirteen guys.  (Not walking anyone, well, that’s part of “Cappy’s” game.)  Normally, “Cappy” is a pitcher who induces a lot of ground-ball outs and might strike out one or two guys, not thirteen.  Even in “Cappy’s” best season, 2005, where he was 18-12 for the Brewers, he didn’t come close to doing anything like this.

As Chris Capuano’s USA Today fantasy baseball page put it (emphasis added):

Chris Capuano had the start of a lifetime on Friday, striking out a career-high 13 in a two-hit shutout of the Braves in New York.

The outing was one of the best by any pitcher in baseball this season.

Well done, “Cappy!”

Written by Barb Caffrey

August 27, 2011 at 1:13 pm