Perhaps the most maddening thing about Wingnuts Anthony Capra is how good he can be.
During each of his starts, Capra displays flashes of dominance that vary in length. In his last start before Saturday, Capra carried it through his entire outing, striking out 11 in a victory.
Saturday night against Lincoln, the domination showed in Capra’s eight strikeouts in five innings. Too much inconsistency seeped its way between those strikeouts, and ultimately Capra’s wildness cost him in a 5-1 Lincoln win at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.
The start of the game was delayed more than an hour by rain. When Capra took the mound, his dominance was first to arrive, with the inconsistency close behind. He struck out the first and third batters of the game around a walk, setting a tone for his up-and-down performance.
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Capra walked two more in the second, but two strikeouts helped him escape trouble, even while signaling a possible early end to his start because of an elevated pitch count.
Capra made it more difficult on himself to escape trouble in the third, and that game of chance finally turned against him. Capra walked the bases loaded with one out, then allowed a double and a triple to consecutive batters to bring in four runs.
After that, Capra settled back into being the pitcher that often impresses Wingnuts manager Kevin Hooper. Though he struggled with fastball command early and didn’t have a steady feel for his usually reliable changeup, Capra was cruising by the fifth.
But his night ended after five innings because of a pitch count reached 101, preventing him from building on the positive aspects of his start. He struck out two in his final inning to work around a leadoff double, the only hit he allowed after there was one out in the third.
While Lincoln was facing pitches out of the strike zone, Wingnuts hitters were practically forced to swing by Saltdogs starter Pete Parise, who rarely got behind in the count.
Parise, in fact, worked into three-ball counts twice through the sixth inning, and his fatigue in the sixth was met by a lack of clutch hitting from the Wingnuts when presented the opportunity to trim its deficit.
Parise didn’t throw more than 14 pitches in any of the first five innings, when the Wingnuts managed three singles.
Wichita was unable to build on its hits until the sixth, but even then the Wingnuts didn’t score as much as they could have. They had four hits in the sixth but one run because a double play interrupted a potentially more productive rally.
In the seventh, the Wingnuts had yet another chance to make things more difficult for Parise, but once again they squandered it. An Abel Nieves walk and Cole Armstrong single put runners at first and third with no outs.
New addition Madison Beaird, a rookie from Central Arkansas, grounded out to second on a play in the hole, and Nieves was unable to score. Jared McDonald popped out to the catcher and Ryan Khoury grounded out to end the threat.
Wichita got two runners on again in the eighth but failed to score. Lincoln pitched a perfect ninth inning.
The Wingnuts have lost two straight to Lincoln after a franchise-best 13-game winning streak. Wichita is 6 ½ games ahead of Gary for first place in the American Association Central, with Lincoln trailing by seven games.
|Coles cf||3||2||1||0||Khoury ss||4||0||2||0|
|Espinosa dh||4||0||0||0||Kahaullio 2b||4||0||0||0|
|Smith 3b||4||1||2||0||Rodrguez dh||4||0||2||1|
|Gac 1b||4||1||1||1||Ziegler 1b||4||0||2||0|
|Gaston rf||3||1||1||2||Clevlen cf||3||0||0||0|
|Dogls ph-rf||2||0||1||0||Nieves 3b||3||0||1||0|
|Forgatch lf||3||0||1||2||Armstrong c||4||0||1||0|
|Goodro c||3||0||0||0||Beaird rf||4||0||0||0|
|Gomez ss||3||0||0||0||McDonald lf||4||1||1||0|
DP— Lincoln 1, Wichita 1. LOB— Lincoln 9, Wichita 8. 2B— Coles (5), Smith (4), Gaston (16), Douglas (12). 3B — Forgatch (3). SB — Coles 2 (14), Forgatch (19). CS — Khoury.
WP — Capra 2, Stone. Umpires—Home, PJ Krauss; first, Brock Ballou; third, Joe Pascucci.
T— 2:58. A— 3,081.