Chris Capuano said after Tuesday’s game that he felt fine, that his donut-induced shoulder bruise (not an edible pastry;this was the kind of “donut” that hitters put on their bat in the on-deck circle) was not a factor in his performance Tuesday against the Giants.
The facts begged the question. Capuano lasted just three innings in his shortest start of the year. He topped out at 90 mph and, although Capuano has never relied on speed, he was regularly touching 91-92 in his last start at home, Sept. 14 against St. Louis. Ask any hitter or pitcher, and 2 mph can make a big difference (all other things being equal — namely movement and location).
Capuano said he suffered the injury prior to an at-bat in San Diego on Sept. 27, “just on deck warming up and hit myself with the donut, kind of right on the bone on the back of my shoulder.”
Even if it wasn’t affecting Capuano during the game, it did affect his between-starts preparation, perhaps enough to throw him off against the Giants.
“I had some shoulder tightness (Tuesday) morning,” he said. “Did a lot of treatment the last couple days. Really felt good warming up, didn’t bother me out there.
“The bullpen between starts, I had to cut that a little short. But it’s not abnormal to sometimes not throw a bullpen or cut one short. I had to do a little more treatment, but the training staff did a great job getting me ready to pitch. I felt good coming out there.”
Capuano justified his early exit because of the win-at-all-costs circumstances. Plus, he wasn’t particularly effective, allowing hits to five of the 13 batters he faced, including home runs by Buster Posey and Joaquin Arias.
That didn’t make it any easier to come out of the Dodgers’ most important game of the season.
“You’re geared up. You want to be out there,” Capuano said. “You want to be giving it everything you have. It’s tough when you can’t go deep in a game. Like I said, the way Barry’s been throwing the ball in the second half, we knew we had to do everything we could to keep it right there.”