-P- Jim Tracy says he's already limiting his usage of rookie pitcher Matt Capps, who has eighty appearances this season. I've worried about this before. It may just be partly a sample size thing, but Capps has completely fallen apart in September, already allowing as many unintentional walks (two) as he'd allowed in any previous month and allowing nine runs in 8.1 innings. I was worrying about Capps on August 17. Beginning on August 19, Tracy used Capps in eight games in eleven days. Since then, he's pretty much been horrible.
So, to sum up - this is a guy who just turned 23, has appeared in eighty games, and has fallen apart while playing meaningless games in September. It's probably time to shut the guy down and, if you're Tracy, pray that Capps doesn't wind up with a serious injury. I know that all pitchers are different, and maybe Tracy knows something about Capps that I don't, but he's really pushing the envelope here, and he's doing it for no reason.
Don't believe me that Tracy's pushing the envelope? Well, Tracy's use of Capps is actually borderline-historic. Capps' 80 appearances - and remember, the season isn't even over yet - would've tied him for 66th all time in appearances in a season for a pitcher, based on the leaderboard entering 2006. There are only two pitchers before Capps in the history of baseball who have pitched at least 80 games in a regular season before their age 24 season (this is Capps' age 22 season). One is Mitch Williams, who pitched 80 games at age 21 and 85 at 22; he never appeared in more than 76 games in a season after that, but generally it's hard to gauge what effect the usage had on him because his career was always characterized by pretty serious control problems.
The other is Oscar Villarreal, who nearly set a rookie record by appearing in 86 games at age 21 for the 2003 Diamondbacks. In 2004, he had elbow surgery and missed almost all of 2004 and 2005 with just about every injury you'd care to name. In other words, enough is enough with the Matt Capps.
-P- From the same article, it sounds like Paul Maholm's injury really isn't that serious - the Pirates are considering starting him on Sunday in San Diego.
-P- Props to Jose Bautista for hitting homers on consecutive nights right after I accuse him of doing a disappearing act.
-P- The Pirates think Chris Duffy should play winter ball. Chris Duffy doesn't think Chris Duffy should play winter ball. Conflict!
Duffy says he wants to use the offseason to get stronger, but it actually sounds like he just doesn't want to play: