Capuano's woeful luck continues in loss
Lefty drops 12th straight decision after Parra exits with injury
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs are not supposed to be very good against left-handers, but that did not stop them from hanging another "L" on Chris Capauno.The Brewers lefty replaced an injured Manny Parra and was burned by back-to-back Cubs homers with two outs in the sixth inning, enough for a 5-4 Brewers loss at Wrigley Field on Thursday in the final regular-season matchup between the teams. From here out, the second-place Brewers cannot gain ground on the National League Central-leading Cubs without some help. "It's a tough loss," Capuano conceded outside the Brewers clubhouse. "Everyone in there is taking this loss pretty hard." After evening the series at a game apiece behind Ben Sheets on Wednesday night, the Brewers missed a chance to pull within one-half game of first place. Instead, the Cubs widened their lead over the Brewers to 2 1/2 games, with the Cardinals looming another half-game back. The Brewers went with rookie starter Parra because the Cubs entered the day 12-20 against left-handed starters. But Parra exited his second Major League start with a bruised and bloodied thumb suffered on a bunt attempt and was replaced by another lefty, Capuano, who entered a 3-3 ballgame and lost his 12th consecutive decision. The team has lost the last 18 games in which Capuano has pitched, the last two coming in relief after manager Ned Yost bumped Capuano to the bullpen. The streak might be eating Capuano up inside, but he continues to be stoic about it. "I just try to take as much emotion out of it as I can," Capuano said. "When I'm out there, I just focus on making a pitch. Irrespective of any turmoil going on inside you, our job as athletes is to focus on a task. That is what I've got to do." He delivered some quality innings on Thursday -- holding the Cubs scoreless except for the two solo homers in four innings of work -- but was burned by a three-pitch series in the sixth. With the teams tied at 3 since the third inning, Capuano retired two Cubs hitters and worked into a full count against Matt Murton, who entered as part of a double switch earlier in the inning. Catcher Damian Miller set up away, but Capuano's changeup got too much of the plate and Murton hammered it into the left-field seats. Two pitches later, Alfonso Soriano hit a low fastball to the same spot. "Besides that, he threw the ball good," Yost said. "It's the same old story." Home runs have hurt Capuano of late. With two more on Thursday, he has surrendered seven home runs over his last three outings and 10 home runs in six games this month. Capuano surrendered 10 total home runs in the first four months of 2007.
|"I just try to take as much emotion out of it as I can. When I'm out there, I just focus on making a pitch. Irrespective of any turmoil going on inside you, our job as athletes is to focus on a task. That is what I've got to do."|
|-- Chris Capuano|
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.