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Another save, another adventure for Matt Capps

If April has taught us anything about Matt Capps, it's that he turns his outings into adventures and then lives to tell about it. He has saved all four Nationals wins and has yet to surrender a run surrendered just one run, which he has acheived while compiling a 1.94 WHIP. Thursday, in the Nationals' thrilling 7-5 victory, Ivan Rodriguez provided insurance with a two-RBI single. Even the extra runs couldn't make it easy for Capps.

The Nationals led by three entering the final inning, which Shane Victorino started with a home run. Placido Polanco followed with a single. With no outs, Capps would have to face Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth, all as the game's trying run.

"If I'm going to get beat," Capps said, "I'm going to get beat with my best."

Capps fell behind Utley with a change-up and then told himself to get ahead, get a ground ball and get Howard out to end the game. It wasn't quite that easy, but it was close. Utley fouled off three pitches, and then Capps pumped a 95-mph fastball down the middle to strike out Utley looking. Howard popped the first pitch he saw to shallow left. Werth lunged and flared an easy fly to center. The disbelieving crowd of 44,157 hushed.

Capps had also recorded the final two outs of the eighth inning. He had never before made a save consisting of more than three outs in the majors, but Riggleman did not hesitate. Capps had three days of rest. And also, "he's a big, strong horse," Riggleman said.

The extra work did bring into play something unusual for Capps. When Rodriguez singled, he extended the inning and brought Capps up to the plate. Capps had been standing in the tunnel, and when he heard Rodriguez had extended the inning he knew he would have to bat.

"That was probably the most nervous I've been on a baseball field," Capps said.

Capps struck out on four pitches, fouling one away. Then he grabbed his glove, and the real work - and the real adventure - began.

FROM THE POST

Ryan Zimmerman smacked a dramatic home run, the centerpiece to the Nationals' 7-5 victory over the Phillies. Scott Olsen pitched well enough to earn the win, which ultimately went to Tyler Clippard. Zimmerman called Olsen's performance "probably the best outing we've had so far." Olsen joined Livan Hernandez as the second pitcher to record an out past the fifth this year. Neither was on the opening day roster.

NATS MINOR LEAGUES

Syracuse 14, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 6: Marvin Lowrance went 2 for 3 with two walks and three runs. Josh Whitesell went 2 for 3 with three walks, a home run and four RBI. Colin Balester allowed five runs on eight hits and a walk in 5 1/3 innings.

Harrisburg 6, New Britain 5: Leonard Davis went 3 for 5 with two runs. Bill Rhinehart went 2 for 4 with a double, a home run and three RBI. Tom Milone allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings. The Senators scored two in the ninth for a walk-off victory. Davis singled home the tying run, and Mike Daniel scored on a wild pitch to win it.

Winston-Salem 7, Potomac 6 (10 innings): Potomac scored two in the top of the 10th, then had their guts ripped out by giving up three in the bottom half. Starter Brad Peacock allowed two runs and struck out six in 5 1/3 innings.

Hagerstown 4, Lakewood 2: Marcus Jones went 1 for 3 with a double and two RBI. Treveor Holder allowed two runs on nine hits and a walk while striking out five in 4 1/3 innings.

FROM AROUND THE WEB

The Nats' record has got to be encouraging at this point, writes Nats Insider.

This start has been much different than last year in a few meaningful ways, says Fire Jim Bowden. There's some other good stuff in that post, too.

This should help explain what's wrong with Garrett Mock.

Ryan Zimmerman didn't miss a beat in the batting cage.

Some are wondering if an old connection will make the Jays interested in Jason Bergmann.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 16, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  Ivan Rodriguez , Jim Riggleman , Matt Capps , Pitching rotation , Ryan Zimmerman , Scott Olsen  | Tags: Chase Utley, Ivan Rodriguez, Jayson Werth, Matt Capps, Nationals, Nationals Phillies, Nationals baseball, Ryan Howard, Ryan Zimmerman, Shane Victorino, Washington Nationals, Washington Nationals baseball, washington nationals  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Free of the Phillies, the Nationals head home
Next: Today's lineups

Comments

"He has saved all four Nationals wins and has yet to surrender a run..."

Did I imagine that Victorino solo HR?

Posted by: fuglynats | April 16, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm... I was following the game on my phone yesterday... so Capps came in after the HR?

Posted by: fuglynats | April 16, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

The Phillies fan who got arrested for throwing up on a little girl is probably going to be barred from their stadium. Maybe we could send up a car, with a free cap, for him.

Posted by: markfromark | April 16, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Capps began pitching in the EIGHTH inning, right? Which would mean that Victorino HR was a run he surrendered, right?

Posted by: Juan-John1 | April 16, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Capps did not surrender that home run. He fought it all the way, running at the speed of light out to center field, jumping up and throwing his body at the ball to keep it in the park. Sadly, he failed. But Capps is no surrender monkey. You don't just hit a home run off Capps, you EARN it.

(Thankfully, though, he didn't land on Nyjer when he came back to earth. That would not have been pretty.)

Posted by: nunof1 | April 16, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Capps did not surrender that home run. He fought it all the way, running at the speed of light out to center field, jumping up and throwing his body at the ball to keep it in the park. Sadly, he failed. But Capps is no surrender monkey. You don't just hit a home run off Capps, you EARN it.

(Thankfully, though, he didn't land on Nyjer when he came back to earth. That would not have been pretty.)

Posted by: nunof1 | April 16, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Oddly enough, GameDay reported the exact scenario that nunof did. Only it was about five minutes later.

Posted by: Section506 | April 16, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Two starts in Syracuse for Balester -

Both 8 hit/5 run efforts. Great 'stache though!

Posted by: Kev29 | April 16, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Did Zim pay attention to Livo's gem?

Zimmerman called Olsen's performance "probably the best outing we've had so far."

WTF? 6.35 ERA 3 BB in 5 2/3!! REALLY our best c'mon ZIM???

Posted by: markfd | April 16, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Nice URL, Kilgore. El-oh-el.

Posted by: CapitolWill | April 16, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

WTF? 6.35 ERA 3 BB in 5 2/3!! REALLY our best c'mon ZIM???

Posted by: markfd | April 16, 2010 11:35 AM

Hey, Olsen only has 3 of our Major League leading 49 walks this season ;-)

Posted by: Kev29 | April 16, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I was out of the office yesterday and missed listening to the game - how was Olsen's velocity? I haven't seen any discussion of it.

Posted by: lowcountry | April 16, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I was glad to see Capps hang on.

He had the worst outing of his career in Philly last summer. I think he gave up 5 or 6 straight hits to get a loss.

Posted by: Pensfans | April 16, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Olsen hit 92 on the gun a couple of times but, more important than his velocity, he was spotting his breaking pitches and offspeed stuff very well. He had Phillies hitters lunging and off balance almost the entire day.

Beyond the numbers, I would agree with Zimm about that being the best Nats outing so far this year, also taking into account that Olsen was facing the Phillies as opposed to a gutted Mets lineup.

Posted by: thelonghaul | April 16, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, longhaul. Glad to hear he hit 92 - I hope he is getting his stregth back. My sense is his location and "pitching skills" were pretty good all spring, he was just lacking some giddyup on his fastball.

Posted by: lowcountry | April 16, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

For your reading pleasure from the City of Brotherly Barf:

PHILADELPHIA -- A New Jersey man is facing charges after police say he intentionally vomited on an 11-year-old girl and her father in the stands during a Philadelphia Phillies game.

Twenty-one-year-old Matthew Clemmens, of Cherry Hill, N.J., was arraigned Friday on charges stemming from his behavior at Wednesday night's Phillies-Nationals game.

Police say Clemmens made himself vomit on an off-duty police captain and his daughter after a companion was kicked out for unruly behavior.

Easton police Capt. Michael Vangelo says he saw Clemmens put his fingers down his throat. Philadelphia police say Clemmens also punched Vangelo and vomited on an arresting officer.

Clemmens is in custody on charges including assault and harassment. Bail is $12,000. His listed phone number is disconnected.


Posted by: Natmeister | April 16, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Easily Post of the Day, probably Post of the Week, arguably Post of the Month.

*****************
Capps did not surrender that home run. He fought it all the way, running at the speed of light out to center field, jumping up and throwing his body at the ball to keep it in the park. Sadly, he failed. But Capps is no surrender monkey. You don't just hit a home run off Capps, you EARN it.

(Thankfully, though, he didn't land on Nyjer when he came back to earth. That would not have been pretty.)

Posted by: nunof1 | April 16, 2010 11:04 AM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | April 16, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Post of the Day!

(It's baaaaack...)

-----

Capps did not surrender that home run. He fought it all the way, running at the speed of light out to center field, jumping up and throwing his body at the ball to keep it in the park. Sadly, he failed. But Capps is no surrender monkey. You don't just hit a home run off Capps, you EARN it.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 16, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Here's a link to Natmeister's article, but with mug shot. Looks like the off-duty officer engaged in a little self-help before calling security.

http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/36595019/ns/sports-baseball/

Posted by: thelonghaul | April 16, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Laughing here. Classic "mug shot that guarantees a guilty verdict."

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | April 16, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

If this is what passes for funny here, I'm going back to Goff's blog....

Posted by: fischy | April 16, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Classy phillajersy fans.

Posted by: alex35332 | April 16, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Am going to see SS37 tonight in Harrisburg. Hope the weather holds...forecast is for thunderstorms beginning around 6:00-ish. Would like to see Storen too. SRO tickets, $5 each.

Posted by: davidmistretta1 | April 16, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Is it something in the water up north that makes Philly fans so obnoxious? http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=5098407

Posted by: rbpalmer | April 16, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, here's that link.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=5098407

Posted by: rbpalmer | April 16, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=5098407

Posted by: rbpalmer | April 16, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Fun fact:
The Nationals are now 4-0 when their starting pitcher records 15 or more outs. They are 0-5 when their starting pitcher does not.

Obviously, 5.0 IP implies that the guy didn't get shelled in some earlier inning, which would tend to leave the team in the hole and thus more likely to lose. Also, going to the bullpen earlier means more quality time with the Killer B's (Bruney, Burnett, Batista, and the now-ex-Bergmann) on the mound and the game on the line. Then again, only ONE of those four eventual Nats wins was a quality start, so it's not like those games were handed over to the pen on a silver platter - indeed, Tyler Clippard is our winningest pitcher (with 2).

Eventually, the team is bound to lose a game in which a starter turned in a passable effort. Even so, part of me wonders whether this is closer to a decent ballclub than we realize, if we're able to do so much now with so little from our starters.

Posted by: adbiosec | April 16, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Astute analysis, adbiosec, plenty to chew on there, thanks. I suspect you may be right about the ballclub being better than 6 of 9 games with the Phillies feels.

On Burnett, I'm willing to cut him some slack, given how he pitched last year. I'll chalk it up to the Phillies being good over him being bad. You nailed it about the rest of the Killer B's though.

Posted by: Section506 | April 16, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"Even so, part of me wonders whether this is closer to a decent ballclub than we realize, if we're able to do so much now with so little from our starters."

Just about everybody in Harrisburg has been looking sharp pitching-wise. Many of the team's prized pitchers are there. Not just Strasburg. You have to figure that by June or July if the starters aren't getting quality starts some of these guys might be called up. Plus, the relievers. There appear to be more than a couple Jesse English types there.

Posted by: periculum | April 16, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

adbiosec, that fact was very fun indeed. Gracias for sharing it.

Posted by: Scooter_ | April 16, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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