Nationals sticking with Matt Capps as closer

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Just two weeks ago Matt Capps was a perfect 16-for-16 closing out games for the Nationals, but yesterday’s blown save was his fourth in six chances since then and his third in four games so far this month.
His overall numbers are still solid, as Capps is 18-for-22 in saves opportunities with a 3.62 ERA and 25/7 K/BB ratio in 27.1 innings, but he’s now allowed 14 runs in his last 10 outings and both Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen are waiting in the wings.
However, manager Jim Riggleman made it clear that Capps will remain the Nationals’ closer despite his struggles. According to Riggleman “he’s throwing the ball well” and “just has to make an adjustment with his sliders” because “he can’t just have his fastball going.”
We’ll see whether Riggleman changes his tune if Capps has another ugly outing or two, because unlike in past seasons the Nationals are near enough to contention that sticking with a struggling closer will get the manager some heat from fans and media members. Of course, with Bryce Harper hours from being drafted and Stephen Strasburg’s arrival a day away Capps can fly under the radar for a bit longer.

Javier Baez, D.J. LeMahieu have disagreement about sign-stealing

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Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.

LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.

There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.

The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.