Matt Capps Works His Magic...Again

Tony GreseContributor IJuly 12, 2009

WASHINGTON - JUNE 5:  Matt Capps #55 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the Washington Nationals on June 5, 2007 at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC. The Pirates defeated the Nationals 7-6.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

As we approach the All-Star Break, trade rumors are swirling like gnats around a dead raccoon.  Big Pirates names, such as Sanchez, LaRoche, and Wilson, look like they will be donning jerseys other than the black and gold they have worn for the past few years.  One name, whose trade stock is falling like a rock is closer Matt Capps, who had another abysmal outing tonight against the World Champion Phillies.

Leading 7-3 heading into the bottom of the ninth, Skipper John Russell decided to bench John Grabow, who pitched a one-hit, three-strikeout eighth inning, and go with closer Matt Capps.  

I am not entirely sure why Capps came in, but I guess that the front office has received multiple offers for him, and wanted to showcase him for those interested.  

This plan was doomed from the first batter when ex-Bucco Matt Stairs hit a solo shot to right field.  Things got worse as he walked the next batter, but finally got an out as All-Star Shane Victorino flew out on a deep shot to the center field warning track. That would be the only out in the inning, as Chase Utley singled, moving the runner to third.  

With Utley and Rollins on base, Ryan Howard tied the game with a devastating home run to center.  Despite another blown save and two long balls, John Russell sat like a statue in the dugout and let the Ol' Bull Rider continue to be bucked off the Phillies bull.

A ground-rule double, intentional walk, and infield single loaded the bases, when catcher Paul Bako singled to left, driving in the winning run, thus dropping the Battling Bucs to 11 games below .500.

The world witnessed a shift from the previous night's no-hitter in San Francisco to an almost remarkable comeback by the defending champs.  Almost remarkable to Pirate fans.  This comes as little surprise, as Capps blew his second save of the season, raising his total to 19 in 246 career innings.

Capps now drops to 1-4 on the year, with an era of 6.21, according to