If Wingnuts pitcher Anthony Capra cant always limit his walks, maybe he can find a way to keep them from sabotaging his starts.
He prevented disaster on Wednesday, when he walked eight but didnt allow a hit until the ninth inning. The walks and Capras nine strikeouts against Kansas City elevated his pitch count to 138 by the time he was removed two outs from a complete game.
But Capra never walked more than one in an inning, didnt allow a runner to reach third base, and maintained a sharp focus, with the help of catcher Chris McMurray, that kept his outing from unraveling.
My mindset has to be not to let walks hurt me, because thats been my problem for my whole career, Capra said after Wednesdays near no-hitter. Having a catcher like (McMurray), who gets you locked back in, and changing my mindset in the past to not let those hurt me, has really paid off.
Capras most ideal forecast for the season is to limit walks altogether, but if he cant, one start in which they didnt hurt him might not establish a trend.
Last season, Capra walked three or more batters during outings of four innings or more and allowed one or zero earned runs four times. Over the course of the season, however, walks often caught up with Capra.
Even including those low-run performances, Capra had a 4.77 ERA in outings in which he walked three or more batters. In the 10 times he walked two or fewer, Capras ERA shrank to 2.37.
As a strikeout pitcher, Capra isnt often a threat for a complete game because he works into long counts last year, his longest outing was 7 1/3 innings. But keeping walks to a minimum will most often allow Capra to keep the bullpen rested.
Thats whats unfortunate in a situation like this, is the walks, Wingnuts manager Kevin Hooper said Wednesday. That adds to the pitching count. But he kept competing.
Forging a strong working relationship with McMurray could help those efforts. McMurray, in his first week-plus with the Wingnuts, has already shown himself to be a defensive stalwart who can quickly figure out the tendencies of his battery mates.
I dont know why hes giving me the credit because he was the one throwing, McMurray said last week. He settled in and my job was easy. I just watched him go.
Wichita 7, Gary SouthShore 1 Wichita starter Jon Link picked up the complete-game victory at Gary, Ind., giving up eight hits, no walks and striking out four. Jake Kahaulelio led the Wingnuts at the plate, going 5 for 5 with two doubles, three RBIs and one run.