Aug 19, 2016

Former Italian / American Mets Pitcher: Chris Capuano (2011)

Christopher Frank Capuano was born August 19, 1978 in West Springfield, Massachusetts. Capuano was the valedictorian of his class at Cathedral High School in Springfield, Mass. 

He went on to earn a degree in Economics at Duke University, where he earned membership in Phi Beta Kappa.

The tall left hander was signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 8th round of the 1988 draft. In 2001 he helped Team USA win the Silver Medal, but then had arm trouble needing Tommy John surgery the following year.

In 2003 he made his MLB debut with the D-backs going 2-4 with a 4.64 ERA pitching in nine games. The promising young lefty was sent to the Milwaukee Brewers in an eight player deal that also sent Ritchie Sexton to Arizona. In 2005 he had a career year, going 18-12 (4th most wins in the NL), his 18 wins were the most by a Brewer pitcher since Teddy Higuera in 1985.

From mid June through the end of July he won seven straight decisions, while putting up a 11-6 record the first half of the season. He led the league in starts (35) posting a 3.99 ERA striking out 176 batters in 219 innings, while pitching three complete games.

Capuano has a fantastic pickoff move to first base, & had led the majors in pick offs in 2005 with twelve. At the plate he batted a modest .169 with 9 RBIs. In 2006 he became the clubs ace as Ben Sheets went down with injury, Capuano made the All Star team going 10-5 by the mid season break.

The rest of his season turned out to be a nightmare for him, going 1-7 finishing with a 11-12 record with a 4.03 ERA over 221 innings of work. In 2007 he began the year at 5-0 but then struggled losing his next 12 decisions.

In 2008 he had a second Tommy John surgery; and setbacks had him miss the next two seasons. He signed a minor league deal with Milwaukee for 2010 and when he felt soreness in his shoulder he was sent back in the minor leagues. In early June he made his first MLB appearance in almost three years, taking a loss at Florida to the Marlins.

On July 3rd he pitched in a game where the Brewers beat the Cardinals, it broke a streak of 26 straight losses, in games in which he had appeared in. Then on July 19th he earned his first win since 2007 pitching five innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Capuano finished the season at 4-4 pitching in 66 innings allowing 29 earned runs (3.95 ERA). In November he was granted free agency & signed with the New York Mets in January 2011.

Capuano made his Mets debut in Florida pitching the 7th inning of relief in a Mets 9-7 win over the Marlins. His first start came against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on April 9th. Although he gave up four earned runs over six innings he still earned the victory.

Capuano was up & down with New York, his worst enemy seems to be the long ball. In the subway series in late May he allowed four HRs (six runs overall) before being removed in the sixth inning. He had a quality month of June going 4-2 pitching at least six innings in five of six starts.

At the All star break he was 8-8 with a 4.12 ERA. In his next two starts he allowed four runs each time, pitching at least as far as the 6th innings taking a pair of losses.

On July 28th he beat the Reds in Cincinnati although he allowed six runs in 5.1 innings pitched helping the Mets complete the three game sweep.

In the month of August Capuano allowed six HRs & 15 earned runs over a four games span going 0-1 raising his ERA to 471. He beat the Atlanta Braves with his best game of the season, a two hit 2-0 shut out on August 26th at Citi Field. In that game he struck out a season high 13 batters.

He would go 1-1 in September finishing the year at 11-12  with a 4.55 ERA, 112 strike outs, 37 walks, 27 HRs (5th most in the NL) 94 earned runs (8th in the NL) & one complete game shut out. He was granted free agency at the end of the season, signing with the L.A. Dodgers.

In 2012 he made a fantastic comeback, having a great start going 10-5 with a 2.81 ERA  through July.

He went 2-7 the rest of the way, finishing the year at 12-12 with a 3.72 ERA.  He led the league in starts with 33 & his 13 sac hits were fourth most in the NL.

In 2013 he joined the Dodgers staff for the second year. He struggled as the team did early on, finding himself at 1-4 with a 5.45 ERA. In his best outing, a 7.1 innings of one run ball against the Miami Marlins, he earned no decision. By the end of the season he was 4-7 with a 4.26 ERA, as the Dodgers went on a roll & won the Western Division.

In 2014 he signed a deal with the Boston Red Sox. He was used as a reliever going 1-1 with a 4.26 ERA before getting released on July 1st.

Three days later he signed a deal with the Colorado Rockies but then had his contract purchased by the AL New York team. He went 2-3 there the rest of the way.

In 2015 he went 0-3 in his first three starts allowing nine runs in 12 innings. He was summoned to the bullpen in May & was 0-4 into mid July with an ERA near five.  

In 2016 he signed with the Milwaukee Brewers as a relief pitcher. He went 1-1 with a 4.13 ERA in 16 appearances through the end of May.

In his twelve year career he is 77-92 with 1199 strike outs & 463 walks in 316 games pitched, with a 4.38 ERA.

Trivia: Capuano is a fitness freak who is in terrific shape. He met his wife Sarah Clifford, while at Duke University, she too is a fine athlete who was a contender for the modern pentathlon in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

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