For example, throwing strikes and limiting walks is generally a good thing for a pitcher. Yet, there is such a thing as throwing too many strikes, and I think we're seeing it from Matt Capps.
The Twins' closer has faced 111 batters this season and walked only two of them. His minuscule walk rate of 0.6 BB/9IP ranks as the lowest in the majors, edging Kyle Farnsworth, who's at 0.8 (what?). Capps has thrown 70 percent of his pitches for strikes.
Pounding the zone has helped the right-hander limit base runners, as evidenced by a stellar 0.93 WHIP. On the flip side, though, he's not fooling anybody. Hitters know what to expect and come to the plate ready to swing and make contact. Capps' strikeout rate has sunk to a career-low 5.5 K/9IP, and it's very tough for a closer to succeed with so few whiffs.
Capps has a good fastball, but he's throwing it 84 percent of the time and almost always over the plate. He's become too predictable, which has enabled hitters to jump on him for five home runs (one short of his total in 73 innings last year).
From my perspective, he needs to start working out of the zone a bit more often to keep hitters honest, making the opposite adjustment of Francisco Liriano. If he can cut down on the hard-hit balls and induce a few more strikeouts, Capps actually figures to be very successful in the second half.
Congratulations to the winners of yesterday's Minnesota Twins Vintage World Series DVD contest. The three names drawn were: Casey Bresnahan, Matthew Beyer and Mark Dasovic.
Thanks to everyone who submitted their name, especially those of you who included a nice personal note. I'll try and run another giveaway soon.
If you didn't win but are still interested in the DVD, you can check it out here.
Joe Mauer is hitting the Batting Cages with eyes on returning later this week. Can he help fuel the Twins' turnaround?