Mariners reliever Capps learning to use more than just speed
Carter Capps threw two scoreless innings Sunday and his manager has been encouraged by his development.
Seattle Times staff reporter
One of the brighter moments on a losing day for the Mariners was the continued evolution of a young flamethrower into more of a pitcher.
Mariners reliever Carter Capps tossed two scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth to allow his squad to make it a one-run game again. Though the Mariners fell short in the end, the continued progress by Capps — known more for his 100 mph fastball than his secondary pitches — gives them hope he could contribute to next year's bullpen.
"Obviously, I just wanted to give them a chance to win," Capps said. "Our offense came back in that inning and I threw well. I threw well in the eighth and was hoping we could pull it off. We almost did."
Capps retired the side in order on two groundouts and a lineout in the seventh. He survived a two-out single by David Murphy in the eighth by retiring Geovany Soto on a ground out. It was his seventh two-inning outing since being called up from the minors July 31.
"I just had to hit spots more so than worrying about throwing it past guys," he said. "Because, obviously, it's such a great lineup and they can all hit well. There are no soft spots in the order. That helps, actually, to keep you locked in because you've got to make your pitches to just about everybody."
The Mariners have had Capps sharpen his curveball since his promotion. He has a 3.54 earned-run average in 14 outings.
"He's really come a long way in the short period of time he's been here," manager Eric Wedge said. "He's not out there throwing, he's out there pitching with that stuff. One of the better fastballs in the league and then that breaking ball — he's much more comfortable working that in. He's doing a better job of mixing his pitches."
And that, more than anything else, is what Capps says he's learned the most in the big leagues — how to be a pitcher rather than a thrower.
"I just try to hit spots more than trying to blow it by guys," he said. "Because it doesn't really matter how hard you throw it if you throw it right down the middle and they know it's coming."
• The Mariners have hit at least one home run in their past 13 games. That's tied for the sixth-longest streak in franchise history.