The Dodgers continued to get stellar work out of Chris Capuano on Friday night, as the left-hander pitched seven strong innings in the club's 7-3 win over the Rockies Friday night, to improve to 5-0 on the season with a sparkling 2.06 ERA.
Capuano has been so good that it was almost a surprise that he even gave up a run, as Michael Cuddyer's seventh inning home run snapped a scoreless streak of 24 2/3 innings for Capuano.
"I probably didn't make the best two-strike pitch I could have made there. I threw a little cutter or slider that I tried to backdoor on him and ended up getting it over the middle," Capuano said of the home run pitch. That was the second good swing he got on me. Quite honestly there was a little breeze blowing in on the two-strike pitch that he hit in the at-bat before that could have gone out."
But the mistakes were few and far between for Capuano, who made life easy for catcher Matt Treanor behind the plate.
"Tonight he got into a groove after that first inning," Treanor said, referring to Capuano's 20-pitch first frame. "He's so locked in when he goes out for warmups in the pen. He knows exactly what he wants to do, and we've already talked about what we wanted to do, so we just follow the gameplan. If we deviate, he usually follows the game plan, and he executes so he makes it easy."
Manager Don Mattingly has been quite pleased with Capuano, a pitcher he compared to Jimmy Key in that both give hitters several different looks and arm angles. Capuano seems to be improving as he gets further removed from the 2008 Tommy John surgery that kept him out of baseball for two years.
"There were arm problems, but he's a couple of years removed from that. That's when guys really pop back," Mattingly said. "We'll get probably not the young version, but a guy that has more experience, seems to be healthy, not having any trouble bouncing back. The guy knows what he's doing."
Capuano said he feels stronger this year, which has helped him to the second 5-0 start to his career.
"Early in the year last year I had a little trouble getting through the fourth, fifth, sixth innings," Capuano said. "I feel better than last year from that standpoint. I'm able to feel stronger later in the game."
Ethier's Big Night
Andre Ethier made a tremendous sliding catch in the ninth inning, catching a long fly ball off the bat of Cuddyer, who seemed to hit the ball hard and far all night. That play capped a huge night for Ethier, who was 3-for-4 with a home run and a double as well.
"Dre was huge tonight, he makes a great play in the ninth," Mattingly said. "I don't think people realize how hard that play was in the corner. That's an unbelievable play he makes in that corner."
There was some concern that Ethier banged his knee on the wall but he said after the game that wasn't the case.
"I just banged up my toe a little bit. I was trying to avoid hitting my knee," said Ethier. "I tried to kick the wall to avoid sliding into it."
Matt Treanor has used the A-Team theme as his at-bat walk-up music at times this season, but the Dodger Stadium scoreboard crew went above and beyond the call of duty on Friday. After Treanor singled in the fifth inning, the left field scoreboard showed a clip of George Peppard as Hanibal Smith saying, "I love it when a plan comes together." That extra twist was a surprise to Treanor.
"I liked it, but it wasn't my idea," said Treanor after the game. "That was pretty creative on their part."
The Dodgers signed infielder Aaron Miles to a minor league contract on Friday. Miles, 35, hit .275/.314/.346 in 136 games for the Dodgers last year and started 61 games at second base and 49 games at third base. Miles has reported to the club's training facility in Glendale, Arizona.
Relief pitcher Mike MacDougal, who was designated for assignment by the Dodgers on May 3, was placed on release waivers on Friday. If he clears waivers, MacDougal will be a free agent on Sunday.