Capuano’s Disappointing Return

Chris Capuano made his return to the major league mound Thursday night, and while many of us were hoping for a quality start, he pitched like a guy who hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2007.

After putting together an impressive string of starts in the minors, Capuano predictably struggled against major league hitters.  That’s not a knock on Cappy or the impressive lines he put up in Brevard County and Nashville, but minor league hitters aren’t the Florida Marlins.  The Marlins were able to lay off pitches outside of the zone and make him pay when he missed in the zone.

By the time he left the game in the 4th inning, his line was less than impressive — 3.2 IP, 7 H, 1 BB, 2 WP, 3 ER.  He threw 80 pitches, but just over half (46) of those were for strikes.

Another interesting note: according to the pitch f/x data from Thursday night’s start, Cappy only threw 20 fastballs all night — 13 four-seamers and 7 two-seamers.  The vast majority of his pitches (45) were changeups, which probably shouldn’t be a surprise.  What was a surprise, however, were the number of changeups he left in the middle of the zone — you can take a look at the pitch locations here.

Is this what we should expect from Capuano going forward?  Or was it just the nerves of making his first big league appearance in two seasons getting to him?  It’s too soon to tell, but I think we’re all hoping he can turn in a better start the next time around.

I don’t think you’ll find too many people being overly critical of him based on this start, though.  Yeah, we were all hoping for a storybook start, but I think we all realized that it was unrealistic to expect it to happen.  The simple fact that Capuano was able to make it back to the major leagues after a second Tommy John surgery is an incredible accomplishment in itself, and a testament to his work ethic.  Here’s to hoping the nerves are settled in the second start.

FanGraphs Win Probability

W: Josh Johnson (6-2)
L: Chris Capuano (0-1)
SV: Leo Nunez (12)

MIL HR: None
FLA HR: None