Capuano will try to shake a frustrating slump as the Brewers (53-40) continue their four-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks (49-46) at Miller Park.
The Brewers have won their last four games, all by one run. They beat the Diamondbacks 3-2 on Tuesday, increasing their NL Central lead to 4 1/2 games over the second-place Chicago Cubs.
The stretch of four straight one-run victories matches a franchise record set six times, most recently May 14-18, 2006. During the winning streak, Milwaukee’s bullpen has allowed one run in 16 2-3 innings.
“Our pitchers have been doing a fantastic job. You really have to take your hat off to them,” Yost said. “We just been scoring enough runs to win and our pitching has made sure it has stood up.”
If Capuano’s recent performances are any indication, the bullpen could be thoroughly tested Wednesday.
Capuano (5-6, 5.16 ERA) is 0-6 with a 7.74 ERA over his last nine starts after posting a 2.31 ERA in his first seven. The Brewers won all of those first seven outings but have dropped each of the next nine.
“He’s definitely struggling right now,” manager Ned Yost said. “It’s a slump. He’s human.”
Capuano, who won a career-best 18 games in 2005, matched his shortest start of the season Friday, allowing five runs in three innings but escaping without a decision in the Brewers’ 10-6 home loss to Colorado. He is 0-1 with a 10.03 ERA in three starts since a stint on the DL with a strained left groin.
“It can’t continue,” Capuano told the Brewers’ official team Web site. “I’m physically healthy. I’ve been successful at this level for a while. I know that around that corner are some good times.”
Capuano made his major league debut with Arizona in 2003 and made nine appearances - five starts - for the Diamondbacks before being shipped to the Brewers in an offseason deal that sent Richie Sexson to Arizona.
He’s 1-2 with a 4.09 ERA in four starts against his former team and lost both of his outings against Arizona last season, allowing 12 runs - eight earned - in 10 innings.
“You keep working through it,” Yost told the Brewers’ site of Capuano’s struggles. “But it’s not an endless rope either.”
Capuano will be looking to send the Diamondbacks to their eighth straight road defeat. Former Arizona starter Claudio Vargas gave up two runs in five innings Tuesday as the Diamondbacks lost for the 11th time in 14 games overall.
“We need to put ourselves in a position where we score five or six (runs) and give our guys on the bump a little breathing room,” Arizona first baseman Tony Clark said. “The options are to quit or find a way tomorrow to get the job done. I would like to think we’re resilient enough to find a way to get the job done.”
Vargas came to Milwaukee in a deal that sent Doug Davis (6-10, 4.19), who takes the mound Wednesday, to Arizona. Davis pitched for Milwaukee from the middle of 2003 through 2006 and went 37-36 for the Brewers, winning a career-best 12 games for them in 2004.
“I’m excited to be back there and pitch against one of my best friends in baseball,” Davis told the Diamondbacks’ official Web site, referring to Capuano.
Davis won for the second time in seven starts Friday, allowing two runs in six innings of an 8-3 victory over San Diego. He walked three and has issued a league-high 62 bases on balls this season.
“I don’t know how the fans are going to be come Wednesday, we’ll find out, but I think I did pretty good when I was here,” he told Arizona’s Web site. “I didn’t leave as a free agent or anything. I didn’t do a Carlos Lee or anything, let’s put it that way.”
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