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Too early for Matt Capps to worry

The Nationals remain winless for spring training, and their losing streak went to 11 tonight. They managed five hits, none in four innings off starter Derek Lowe, in a 5-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves at Space Coast Stadium. Garrett Mock, looking more and more like a pitcher who'll be in the opening day rotation, started and allowed two runs in the first but retired the last nine batters he faced.

Perhaps the most troubling development tonight came after the outcome was pretty much decided. Matt Capps allowed his second home run of the spring, a blast to left by Joe Thurston on a 1-1 slider. After he gave that solo home run, Capps has allowed six runs on eight hits and three walks in five innings.

But there's reason to believe Capps's struggles aren't much to worry about. Manager Jim Riggleman said Capps is still only at about 80 to 90 percent of what he'll be in the regular season. Closers in general often take longer to work themselves in. Their jobs rely on adrenaline, which can be hard to muster when you're losing 4-1 on March 15.

"Some pitches, I feel like I'm ready right now," Capps said. He also allowed that when he gets on the mound, the competitive part of him wants to go three-up, three-down every inning. But in the end, Capps feels like now is too early to be concerned.

"It's a different feel, spring training and the regular season," Capps said. "There's obviously a lot more adrenaline, a lot more fire going. But competitive juices are flowing from Day 1. I'm going through the process.

"It's a different feel. It's definitely a different feel. On the same hand, it's a different feel for the hitters, too. Just going out, trying to keep the ball down in the zone, get groundballs, get ahead of guys and try to put them away. I don't worry too much about results and runs and home runs the first couple weeks of spring training. If this is happening my two or three outings, then that's a different story. But right now, I feel pretty good with everything."

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 15, 2010; 10:39 PM ET
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Next: Garrett Mock's likely rotation spot and morning links


Hmmmmmm ... really?

Posted by: periculum | March 15, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Too early maybe for Riggleman or Capps to worry, but for me I think the time is about right.

Joe Thurston?

Mike MacDougall, we hardly knew ye...not even long enough to be sure we're spelling your name correctly.

And we can pencil Elijah in for 20/80/.280, 15-20 SBs, right?

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | March 15, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Execs Name Best, Worst Moves Of The Offseason

Nominated for the worst moves: free agent deals for Jason Bay, Matt Holliday, Brandon Lyon, Jason Kendall, Aubrey Huff, ***Jason Marquis***, Randy Wolf, and Garrett Atkins. All the execs polled mentioned Holliday's seven year, $120MM deal when choosing their worst deals of the winter. Said one: "The fear that he would sign a one-year deal elsewhere and take his chances a year from now — that just doesn't make sense to me."

Posted by: periculum | March 15, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

I know how to get his adrenaline going: bring Storen north.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | March 15, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

I know how to get his adrenaline going: bring Storen north.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | March 15, 2010


And try out Bruney as closer the next few games. He wants that
job as well.

Posted by: periculum | March 15, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Somehow, I have a feeling he'll get his shot.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | March 15, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

This team cannot afford to be 10-20 or 12-32 at the beginning of the season, again, and be out of the wild card race by May 15th, again.

The fan base is going to stop caring.

Posted by: rgibson25 | March 16, 2010 7:14 AM | Report abuse

Hate to break it to you but the Nats are already out of the wild card race but yet most of the fans care more than ever. This season is all about a race to .500 and mediocrity and a modicum of respect around the league.

The Nats cant start thinking wild card until at least 2011.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | March 16, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Yoism, huh? I'd not heard of that one before.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 16, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

I expected something like this:

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 16, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

But I liked the Spinal Tap reference. :-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 16, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

What, me worry?

Not with the great array of MLB rookies/castoffs Rizzo has assembled, and not when Riggleman has the assignment of nurturing Strasburg into the show.

What could go wrong?

Besides, Bob Carpenter is his usual chirpy self. Or is he the canary in the coal mine?

Posted by: JohnRDC | March 16, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Not sure I understand how Bob Carpenter is the canary in the coal mine. Canaries were usually taken underground so they would die from methane poisoning before the miners, giving them a chance to escape. If Bob were a canary, he would be dropping first, giving us a head start on bailing on the Nationals.

Posted by: LandoverHillsBoysClub | March 16, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

1a, you let that "Eleventh!" go right by.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | March 16, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Dang! :-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 16, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

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