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Matt Capps takes home April relief award

By this point last season, the Nationals bullpen could be fairly targeted as the primary reason behind their epically rancid start to the season. Through 25 games, Nationals reliever had blown eight saves in 11 chances. By this point, the Nationals had blown up half their opening day bullpen.

All of which makes Nationals closer Matt Capps's first month on the job even more important. Capps won the Major League Baseball Delivery Man Award, given each month to the pitcher deemed the most outstanding reliever by an MLB panel. In April, Capps converted all 10 save chances he had, posting a 0.68 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings. (He lowered his ERA to 0.66 on Sunday in a one-out outing.) Capps has not allowed an earned run in eight consecutive innings.

Perhaps most remarkable, given the Nationals' relief situation this time last year, Capps was not a slam dunk as the best reliever on his own team, let alone the entire league. Tyler Clippard allowed one run in 18 innings, striking out 23 while yielding 16 hits and walks combined. The league hit .123 against him.

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 3, 2010; 2:09 PM ET
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Next: It's a long way back to the majors for Matt Chico


Awesome! It was a steady bullpen that got us to .500 last time too.

Posted by: futbolclif | May 3, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Noting that (outside of Jesse English) that bullpen is made up of clip 'n save. The "other or mop up bullpen" that seems to now come in only in games where either side has a huge lead ... actually looks worst than the bullpen led by gas-can-rahan. 12 home runs combined with around 35 walks in just around 50 innings can't be good.

Posted by: periculum | May 3, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Last year the bullpen was full of pyromaniacs, this year they are the reason the team is at least competitive.kudo's to Madd Capps.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 3, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

They really should have considered a joint award to Clip 'n Save. What a great story they are. Peric is right that it's a story with a cautionary note though. To keep up our success, some other relievers are going to have to step up and do the job. And if they don't, there are some potential replacements in the minor leagues waiting for a chance.

Posted by: Section222 | May 3, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Caps off to you, Matt! Your dad would have been proud, I'm sure.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 3, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Matt Capps must love Willie Harris. Seriously, Capps has thrown strikes and not walked people. He's also been the beneficiary of some really strong defense. That Willie Harris catch was a real turning point for him in turns of pulling off a high wire save and learning that he could trust his defense and throw strikes in future saves.

Hopefully, Willie Harris gets some fine present from Capps since Capps is pitching on a one year deal and will be making much coin next year if his defense continues to be solid.

Posted by: souldrummer | May 3, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

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