Brandon McCarthy Struggles Through Shortest Start Of Dodgers Career, Removed With Right Hip Stiffness
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The trials and tribulations continued for Brandon McCarthy as he failed to make it out of the second inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. His 1.2 innings pitched marked McCarthy’s shortest start in his time with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The club later announced McCarthy was removed with right hip stiffness. While he improved on command so as not to throw to the backstop, McCarthy matched a career high with five walks; two of which came with the bases loaded.

It was McCarthy’s third consecutive start with that many walks. He’s the first Dodgers pitcher to walk five batters in three consecutive starts since Kaz Ishii did so in 2004.

McCarthy threw two bullpen sessions during the week under the eye of Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt. The goal was to iron out mechanical issues and improve on fastball command. McCarthy said Friday he felt confident heading into his start against the Pirates.

There were some instances where McCarthy nibbled at the corners of the strike zone but didn’t get the benefit of the call. Only twice did A.J. Ellis need to make a backhanded grab on a pitch thrown well outside the zone.

Of McCarthy’s 51 pitches on the afternoon, only 22 were for strike. He was checked on by Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and head athletic trainer Nate Lucero prior to being removed. The Dodgers have maintained McCarthy’s recent troubles aren’t injury related.

The 33-year-old went 2-0 with a 1.61 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 22.1 innings pitched over his first four starts after returning from Tommy John surgery.

However, entering Saturday, McCarthy was 0-2 with a 5.91 ERA in his past three starts. He failed to complete more than four innings in any of the outings.

Considering Bud Norris is beginning a rehab assignment with High-A Rancho Cucamonga on Saturday night, it may be safe to assume Norris will be reinstated from the disabled list to take the start in McCarthy’s next turn.