Matt Capps Unfiltered

In a season marked by frustration, disappointment and failure, no Twin has endured more abuse than Matt Capps. He’s been bumped out of the closer role, heartily booed in his home ballpark and the butt of many jokes. In July, a day after blowing his 8th save of the season vs. Kansas City, one frustrated fan was seen carrying a sign that read “Jesus Saves, Capps Doesn’t”.

Underneath the obvious issues - the blown saves and high era - Capps has put up some surprisingly solid statistics. His 1.13 WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) is stellar, his 3 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio (28 to 9) is good and his .257 batting average against is decent. What this means is that Capps has been a victim of some bad luck and unusual circumstances and should bounce back in 2012. Not that it matters to Twins fans, Capps will be a free agent following this season and will almost definitely not be resigned.

I caught up with the nearly 28-year-old embattled reliever during last week’s homestand.

DZ: This season for the team and personally, probably hasn’t gone the way you’d hoped for, how are you doing right now, how are you feeling?

CAPPS: OK. It’s late in the year and a lot of guys have been worked a lot - a lot of innings and stuff like that - but I feel pretty good. I feel like I’ve been throwing the ball a little better the last couple of times out and (I hope) to finish the season on a strong note and see what happens.

DZ: Is that the motivation at this point, just trying to finish strong?

CAPPS: Absolutely. No matter what the team situation or personal situation is…you have to take pride in your work and every time you go out there, try and do the best you can.

DZ: When you go through tough times, how do you deal with it, who do you lean on?

CAPPS: Well, you have to have some mental toughness in this game (and) keep things in perspective. My faith in God and my religion, my family - all of that (helps). You keep it in perspective. We are playing a game and as important as it is on the field, in the grand scheme of it all we are playing a game for a living. It’s not life or death.

DZ: When you are a closer, it’s kind of a unique because everything is so final, whether you succeed of fail. People kind of expect the game to be over when you come out and pitch. How do you deal with that when you don’t succeed?

CAPPS: You are given that opportunity for a reason and it’s usually because you’ve been successful in those situations late in the ball game. You are there because you’ve been successful at one point in time. People come to expect it of you, you expect it of yourself. The hardest part is learning how to turn the page and learning how to create a new day every time there is a bad one. That’s easier said than done. Like I said before, you’ve got to find a way to do it and keep this game in perspective and go out and try to have a little bit of fun.

DZ: You do have another guy out there who’s done a lot of closing in Joe Nathan. What’s your relationship like with him, what have you learned from him?

CAPPS: It’s pretty good. Joe’s a pretty reserved guy, he’s not the kind of guy who is really going to take me to the side and say, “This has worked for me, this hasn’t worked for me” and things like that. I just watch how he goes about his business, what makes him successful and try and apply that to what I do.

DZ: This year the hometown fans have been tough on you at times, what was that like for you?

CAPPS: Fans are funny like that because everybody I meet on the street or dinner or what have you, everybody is super nice. I guess it’s kinda easy in crowd to boo or let you disappointments show, but it is what it is. They come here and this team and this city has experienced a lot of successes on the baseball field (and) what I was doing for a couple of weeks there wasn’t successful so they were letting me know about it and they have that right. In this country there’s freedom of speech and there more than entitled to their opinions and their thoughts and that’s part of it. I’ll take it in stride and move forward.

DZ: Do you get recognized a lot around town?

CAPPS: Yes and no. It’s not one of those things where every time we go out people recognize you, but it’s a lot more here than a lot of other cities that I’ve been to. I was in Pittsburgh and if I was a Steeler in Pittsburgh, I would have been noticed everywhere. Then going to Washington, DC where it’s such a big city and there is so many more things going on than just sports. You are not recognized a lot in DC.

DZ: In Pittsburgh you played with Jose Bautista, right? (Capps: Yeah). Were you surprised to see him blow up the way he has?

CAPPS: No, not at all. We would watch his BPs - I played Double A and Triple A ball with him - you’d watch his BP and the power was always there. His approach changed, he got with the right people and got his game plan down and it’s paying dividends for him now. The bat speed and the power were always there, it’s just the opportunity wasn’t really given to him like it has been in Toronto and he’s certainly down the best he can to make the best of it, that’s for sure.

DZ: One last thing, you are a free agent after this year. Have you talked about coming back here at all?

CAPPS: No, that’s up to them. I’ve enjoyed most of my time here - good people around, great teammates, good coach staff. It’s up to them, I know they talked about it and kind of stumbled over it this offseason and didn’t feel like the timing was right to make more than a one year commitment. That’s fine, so whatever they decide to do, if I am given the opportunity to come back here, I’ll certainly look at it, think a lot about it with nothing but good things in my mind about it. Coming to this ballpark with these people everyday is tough to beat. We’ll just have to see what happens.

See more of David Zingler’s interviews with Twins players:

August 9: Jason Kubel
July 26: Luke Hughes
July 19: Glen Perkins
July 17: Ben Revere
July 3: Scott Baker
June 13: Rene Rivera
June 10: Nick Blackburn
June 2: Trevor Plouffe
May 31: Phil Dumatrait
May 28: Justin Morneau
May 24: Denard Span
May 1: Jim Hoey
April 28: Jason Kubel
April 19: Jeff Manship
April 15: Dusty Hughes

One Response to “Matt Capps Unfiltered”

  1. MinnesotaSCORE » Q&A with Twins Rookie Outfielder Rene Tosoni Says:

    […] 30: Matt Capps August 9: Jason Kubel July 26: Luke Hughes July 19: Glen Perkins July 17: Ben Revere July 3: Scott […]

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