Matt Capps isn't worried. The 26-year-old former Pirates' closer, who signed a 1-year/$3.5 million dollar free agent contract with Washington this winter after Pittsburgh non-tendered him, is coming off a rough year, his worst as a pro, and following yesterday's 0.2 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 2 ER performance, (which saw the reliever lifted after facing six batters and surrendering a single, triple and two one-out walks, leaving runners on second and third with two down for his replacement Miguel Batista), Capps has now allowed 16 hits, 7 walks and 10 ER in 10.2 IP this Spring.
In a post game interview recorded in MASNSports.com's Ben Goessling's article entitled, "Nats vs. Cardinals: Post-game thoughts", Capps was quoted telling reporters he wasn't too concerned with his results on the mound:
"'It didn't work out the way I wanted, but it's not something I'm going to lose sleep over,' Capps said. 'Physically, I feel good. I felt like the ball was coming out of my hand pretty good. I just couldn't throw it where I wanted to.'"
After starting the Spring with a similarly shaky 3 H, 2 ER outing against the Houston Astros, Capps has now allowed at least a run in 7 of 10 appearances, while throwing just one hitless inning in his 3/28 appearance against Atlanta. DC Skipper Jim Riggleman isn't worried about his late-inning option though. Riggleman was quoted in the same article by MASNSports.com's Ben Goessling saying, "'He's as prepared as he can be, but he didn't get the ball down,' Riggleman said. 'But his velocity has picked up.'" Which is pretty much the same thing Mr. Riggleman told Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore in an article entitled, "Nationals' Sean Burnett and Matt Capps take small steps forward", a week back after Capps gave up a run on two hits against the Tigers:
"'I think that's the best I've seen him throw this spring,' Riggleman said. 'He really threw a couple good sliders. It seemed like he had the best velocity on his fastball.'"
So Capps' velocity has picked up, but as MASNSports.com's Mr. Goessling points out, "That doesn't mean much if Capps isn't hitting his location." Mr. Goessling goes on to suggest that Brian Bruney, who was brought to DC thinking he had a chance to compete for the closer's job, "...has outpitched Capps most of the spring, and if that continues into the season, the closer's job could become a group effort." Matt Capps isn't worried. As MLB.com's Bill Ladson wrote in a 3/16/10 article entitled, "Nationals have yet to get pitching in gear", after Capps surrendered a HR to journeyman outfielder Joe Thurston, "[Capps] indicated that it's still early in the exhibition season and he would be more concerned about his performance if he was giving up runs late in Spring Training."
So when does Drew Storen come up again?