04/24/2007 11:48 PM ET
Capps: Hitting the target
Matt Capps is 1-0 with a 0.87 ERA and five strikeouts over 10 1/3 innings this season.
(Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Control is my strong suit. I've been fortunate to come into games and locate my fastball and my slider. My control makes me feel like I can throw my best pitches in any count. When you can jump ahead of hitters, you can put them on the defensive.
I can throw the ball in the mid 90s but my control is what tells me more about how I'm pitching than a radar gun. I'm throwing the ball well when I have good movement, yet it is still going where I want it to go.
Some of the best pitchers in baseball don't throw any more than 85 or 86 mph. Look at guys like Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux and see what they've done in their careers. When you locate the ball, you can get batters out without throwing more than 87 or 88 mph.
When I was a starter earlier in my pro career, my changeup was a pitch I used with a lot of success. But I don't rely on the change as much as a reliever. It's a contact pitch, and pretty often when you come in with runners on base, you'd rather go with a slider or a fastball, something a batter is more likely to swing through. My changeup is still there and I still have confidence in it. I just don't use it as much.
Last year, I appeared in 85 games with the Pirates. Some guys who throw that often have a rubber arm. I can tell you that my arm is not rubber. I know that for a fact. Still, I have been fortunate enough to stay healthy, and when they call upon me, I'm ready. I do my best to stay in shape.
I've closed games in the Minors and I believe I have the ability to close games someday. But right now Solomon Torres has that job and I'm happy to be in a setup role. If the opportunity presents itself sometime in the future, I'll try to take it and run with it.
So far this season, I've had some pretty good days. I feel good and I feel healthy, which is the most important thing. Plus, our defense has been unbelievable behind me. I expect the best from myself and I think my teammates have the right to expect that, too. My goal every day is to go out on the mound and perform to the best of my capabilities.
Third-year reliever Matt Capps issued his first walk of the season on Sunday in his 11th appearance for the Pirates. Last year, the 6-foot-2, 240-pound right-hander from Douglasville, Ga., walked just 12 batters over 85 games (the most appearances among all rookies) as he went 9-1 for the Pirates. This year, Capps is 1-0 with a 0.87 ERA and five strikeouts over 10 1/3 innings.