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Control issues haven’t hurt Wingnuts pitcher Capra

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Sunday, May 25, 2014, at 7:16 p.m.
  • Updated Monday, May 26, 2014, at 7:27 a.m.

Laredo at Wingnuts

When: 7:05 p.m. Monday

Where: Lawrence-Dumont Stadium

Records: Laredo 6-4, Wichita 7-4

Pitchers: Laredo, RH Mike Piazza (1-0, 4.62 ERA); Wingnuts, LH Anthony Capra (2-0, 0.00)

Radio: KWME, 92.7-FM

If Wingnuts pitcher Anthony Capra can’t 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 didn’t allow a hit until the ninth inning. The walks – and Capra’s 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, didn’t 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 that’s been my problem for my whole career,” Capra said after Wednesday’s 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.”

Capra’s most ideal forecast for the season is to limit walks altogether, but if he can’t, one start in which they didn’t 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, Capra’s ERA shrank to 2.37.

As a strikeout pitcher, Capra isn’t 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.

“That’s what’s 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 don’t know why he’s 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.

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