Capps threw only three breaking balls out of 39 pitches in his previous outing against the Twins and got rocked for four hits and three runs in the second frame of that two-inning appearance, admitting he got a little "fastball happy."
This time he threw 28 fastballs and 10 off-speed pitches, with better results. He got Albert Pujols to ground out on a curveball and struck out Bobby Wilson on a curve. And the heater was still there, as he whiffed Mike Trout on a 101-mph pitch for one of his four strikeouts.
"I was trying to work on it," the 22-year-old said of his curve. "It felt good. I was throwing it for strikes for the most part and getting it down in the zone, so I was happy with it. It makes your fastball faster, no matter how hard you throw. And if you mix the changeup in there, it just opens up a doorway to other things."
Manager Eric Wedge said it was a good learning experience, particularly after the Angels got to Capps for a quick run.
"They turned around a few fastballs and then he started throwing that breaking ball, and I think he saw that it was a pretty good breaking ball," Wedge said. "He saw the reaction of the hitters and then you see the counter-reaction when he starts throwing fastballs after throwing the breaking ball, and it's a little bit different ballgame then. I was really impressed. I think he learned something."
Capps has a 5.59 ERA in eight appearances but is on the fast track. He pitched just one game in Triple-A after dominating at Double-A Jackson.
"He's learning with each and every outing and he's learning a great deal," Wedge said. "He's doing a nice job."