After having to overcome numerous injuries over the course of his career, the Los Angeles Dodgers' Chris Capuano isn't taking his recent success for granted.
Looking to improve to 5-0 in five starts at Chavez Ravine, Capuano takes the hill Sunday afternoon as major league-leading Los Angeles tries to build on a thrilling win in the conclusion of a three-game set with the Houston Astros.
Capuano, who in addition to several less severe DL stints missed the entire 2008 and 2009 seasons after undergoing his second Tommy John surgery, is once again healthy and thriving in the Dodgers' rotation. The left-hander has gone 6-1 with a 2.25 ERA and limited opponents to a .201 average.
"He's an outstanding guy, obviously," catcher Matt Treanor said. "Anytime somebody, you know how hard they work to get back in the game and get back in the big leagues, to be able to perform at a high level, that's a tribute to him and his work effort. You can't feel nothing but good for him."
Capuano continued his impressive campaign Monday, allowing just five base runners and striking out five over six innings of one-run ball in a 6-1 victory at Arizona.
"I couldn't be having more fun playing the game," he told MLB.com. "Since coming back from my second Tommy John surgery, both last year (with the New York Mets) and this year in L.A., I appreciate all of this, no doubt about it."
Capuano has gone 5-1 with 3.08 ERA in his last six starts against Houston dating to 2006. He compiled a 2.25 mark in winning both his matchups versus the Astros (22-24) last season while with New York.
The Dodgers (31-15) are coming off their 12th victory in 16 games, winning 6-3 on Saturday thanks to A.J. Ellis' three-run homer with one out in the ninth inning.
"This is the greatest moment of my personal baseball career," said Ellis, batting .362 with three homers and 12 RBIs in his last 13 games. "It's really humbling, just to be a part of where this team is headed right now. It feels real special."
Houston, meanwhile, went 2 for 10 with runners in scoring position as its four-game win streak came to an end. The Astros have dropped seven of nine in this series overall and nine of 12 at Dodger Stadium.
Houston tries to get back on track behind J.A. Happ (4-3, 4.56 ERA), who since getting knocked around in his first seven starts, has come through with a pair of impressive performances.
Five days after scattering seven hits over six frames of a 4-0 win over Milwaukee, Happ yielded a run, five hits and struck out six in as many innings Tuesday during a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
"Happ threw the ball great," closer Brett Myers said. "That's back-to-back (good) starts for him, and I think he's back. He and (catcher Chris) Snyder worked fast, and that keeps Happ's rhythm going and being able to locate pitches. He's throwing the ball really well for us."
Happ, who hadn't won back-to-back outings since a career-best three-start winning streak Aug. 25-Sept. 5, 2010, is 0-2 despite a 2.81 ERA over three career starts against the Dodgers. He gave up three runs, eight hits and four walks in six innings of a 3-1 loss April 20.