For the first time in three starts this season, Brandon McCarthy failed to complete six innings. He turned in five frames in Monday’s loss, allowing two runs on five hits. He matched a season high with three walks, and recorded a season-best eight strikeouts.
McCarthy was lifted at just 86 pitches and in spite of the Dodgers playing with a short bullpen. “I felt he could just give us one more inning,” manager Dave Roberts explained following his club’s loss. “Thinking through the game, I felt it was either going to be two or three innings for [Chris Hatcher].”
Luis Avilan and Sergio Romo were available, but to only face one or two batters each. The Dodgers wanted to avoid using Pedro Baez, and Ross Stripling was not an option because of his 2.1 innings pitched the night prior.
McCarthy said there wasn’t any discussion with Roberts or pitching Rick Honeycutt prior to his being removed. If not for a few soft singles in the fifth inning, it’s plausible the right-hander would’ve exited with a 2-0 lead instead of the game tied.
While McCarthy’s outing ended on somewhat of a down note, he was generally pleased. “A couple runs there were on balls that were not struck well, and balls I’d like to get outs on,” McCarthy said.
“But overall, strikeouts over groundouts, I want one or the other if I have to choose. I was tired of getting ahead of guys and not putting them away. It’s a recipe for disaster. It was nice to be able to shift gears and get strikeouts back on my side.”
Roberts championed McCarthy’s outing, saying the 33-year-old “threw the ball well all night.” With each start McCarthy continues to further distance himself from the 2015 Tommy John surgery. After debuting this season, he mentioned having found a blueprint for success.
McCarthy nonetheless is mindful of improving and remaining consistent as the season carries on. “There are little things that are bugging me that I’d like to get better at,” he said.
“Overall as a whole, I’ve been fairly consistent start to start. That’s positive and that’s all I want over the course of a season. But there’s certainly still things I can get better at.”