To acknowledge the obvious: this game didn’t count. It was called after four innings due to heavy rain at Camelback Ranch. We’re just going to pretend these postgame thoughts do count. Try to keep up.
Chris Capuano threw four innings, which was significant because he took a long and winding road to get there. Capuano was scheduled to start the Dodgers’ night game at home against the Cincinnati Reds when the day began. When it appeared that the afternoon game in Scottsdale against the Giants might not be rained out, Capuano made the trip and was penciled in to relieve Ted Lilly.
That didn’t happen; the Dodgers-Giants game was rained out in the second inning with the Dodgers leading 4-0.
So, Capuano came back to Glendale, pitched four pretty good innings and left just in time for the rain to wash out another game.
“It’s one of those crazy, weird games in spring training,” he said.
Capuano didn’t mind the long day. “You think about the position players and extra guys going to both games. Starting pitchers throw every fifth day. If you’ve got to wait a little bit it’s not a big deal.”
There’s another wrinkle to this non-game that made Capuano’s performance noteworthy. At some point — no sooner than next Thursday, Don Mattingly said — the portion of the Dodgers’ eight starters who the team plans to use as relievers will switch to a reliever’s program. But this wasn’t Capuano’s last start. He said he’s been given the starting assignment next Thursday against the Chicago Cubs.
Had the game counted, it would have been Capuano’s best start of the spring. He allowed two hits (one an infield single by Billy Hamilton), one run, walked one and struck out three. Capuano didn’t get in any extra throws in the bullpen because he had reached the allotted pitch count.
Some more notes:
- A scout told me before the game that Hamilton runs those infield singles out in less than four seconds from home to first. There’s no shame in getting beat to first base by Billy Hamilton. Said Capuano: “That’s kind of what spring training is for, to get your baseball instincts into high gear.”
- Hamilton and Dee Gordon both stole a base, their fourth and sixth of spring, respectively. Except those stats don’t count so they’re still stuck on three and five, respectively.
- Scott Van Slyke hit a two-run double in the fourth inning to give the Dodgers the “win.” He also had some awkward moments in the field at first base with his footwork.
- In the clubhouse after the game, players from all sorts of countries were glued to the U.S.-Mexico WBC game. They had some interesting, measured reactions. I’ll save them for another day.