Nursing a hamstring injury entering his start Thursday evening against the Grand Prairie AirHogs, Anthony Capra went over scenarios in his mind about how he would limit himself.
Bunts, for example, would be handled with extreme caution. He told himself he would put as little strain on his hamstring, which he said felt fine after tweaking it in his prior start Saturday, as possible.
But when that exact scenario played out with the second batter of the game, adrenaline and instincts kicked in and Capra chased after the bunt and tried to beat the runner to first base.
Capra’s hamstring “popped” and the Wingnuts lost the game, 10-3, and their No. 2 starter for what manager Kevin Hooper speculated could be a handful of weeks.
“It was just a reaction thing,” Capra said.
“Nobody was on first, so I thought I had to run it there. As soon as I went up to take a hard step, it just popped and that was kind of it.”
While the Wingnuts escaped the first inning without allowing a run, the momentum had shifted and a funk hovered around the team for the rest of the game.
Without its starter, Wichita could not find an answer on the mound. Long reliever Alan Williams ate up the next eight outs, but gave up three runs in the process.
Hooper was forced to try out six arms from the bullpen, with the first five all allowing at least one run for the next eight innings. Only Matt Nevarez impressed, striking out two in a shutout ninth inning when the game was already out of hand.
“You try to manage it the best you can,” Hooper said. “It puts you in a tough spot, though. You’ve got to tax your bullpen and now you’re concerned about (Friday) night. You’re trying to think about the future, too.”
Grand Prairie never trailed after scoring two runs in the second inning. The Wingnuts responded with two runs in the bottom of the third inning, briefly trailing 3-2, but the AirHogs came back with two runs in the fifth and four runs in the seventh to break open the game.
Wichita’s offense was actually able to produce more hits than Grand Prairie’s – 14 to 13 – but the Wingnuts consistently stranded runners and failed in stringing hits together.
The Wingnuts stranded nine runners, as a handful of base-running errors cost them even more chances at scoring.
Shortstop Ryan Khoury was a bright spot, extending his hitting streak to 11 games with a 3-for-4 performance with two runs scored.
“We put a lot of good at-bats together tonight,” Khoury said. “We had a lot of hits, but just not many with runners in scoring position. We had a few mistakes on the base paths. It was just one of those games.”
While Wichita can afford to drop a game, holding a 5 1/2-game lead in the South Division over Laredo, it can not afford to have Capra miss significant time.
“It sucks, to be honest,” Capra said. “I still have to go see a doctor and probably find out more. Hamstrings, you never know. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back out there soon.”
But in case he does miss time, the Wingnuts might have to find a suitable replacement on short notice.
“It’s always tough when you lose a starter like Cap,” Khoury said. “But our staff knows what they’re doing and they always have their ears to the wire. We could move someone in from the bullpen. It’s tough, but you’ve got to battle through it. That stuff happens throughout the year. We just hope he’s back out there as soon as possible.”
|Mojica ss||5||0||1||2||Khoury ss||4||2||3||0|
|Burns ss||1||0||0||0||Ambrsn ph||1||0||1||0|
|Nieves 3B||4||2||2||0||Kahaullo 2b||4||0||1||2|
|Botts lf||5||1||1||0||Clevlen cf||4||0||2||1|
|Hall rf||4||3||3||3||McMurray c||4||0||1||0|
|Rodrigz 1b||4||1||2||2||Wise dh||4||0||1||0|
|Myrow dh||2||1||0||1||Whyte 1b||4||0||1||0|
|DiFazio c||3||0||1||1||Oldham rf||4||0||1||0|
|Baker cf||4||0||0||1||McClendn 3b||4||1||2||0|
DP— Grand Prairie 3. LOB— Grand Prairie 10, Wichita 9. 2B— Mojica (11), Nunez (4), Nieves (5), Hall 2 (9), Khoury (10), Whyte (1). 3B — Nieves (2). HR — Hall (3).
|Williams L,2-3||2 2/3||4||3||3||2||4|
HBP — by Jarvis (Tesata), by Hinshaw (Myrow). WP — Wallach. Umpires—Home, Bobby Feaster; first, Nick Gonzalez; third, Joey Stegner.
T— 3:29. A— 2,282.