What to expect from Brandon McCarthy when he returned from Tommy John surgery was largely unknown. History has proven the results land on a wide scale, with plenty of instances where ups and downs are the norm.
For McCarthy, one of the valleys came Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Dodgers’ bats were held in check for much of the night, which included Josh Reddick twice making solid contact with nothing to show for it.
Jesse Chavez also appeared in his first game with the Dodgers, and struggled to put hitters away in what was a three-run sixth inning for the Rockies.
McCarthy turned in his shortest start of the season, allowing only three runs on three hits, but command issues led to a high pitch count.
According to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, McCarthy said the outing was unlike any other he’s experienced during his Major League career:
Upon conclusion of the game, McCarthy provided clarity behind the struggles of his start, via
“I’ve never felt like that on a major-league mound before,” McCarthy said. “Coming back (from Tommy John surgery), this process has been a lot of ups and downs. Some games the feel’s been off and I’ve been able to get through. Today was the opposite. The feel just wasn’t there. I tried as best I could to battle through it, but there were some horrifically bad pitches in there. It just felt very weird.
The right-hander walked a career-high five batters, while only striking out two. McCarthy entered the outing with an impressive 33.3 percent strikeout rate over 26.1 innings this season. Although McCarthy didn’t use it as an excuse, a rain delay certainly didn’t help matters.
He struck out Charlie Blackmon to start the bottom of the first, walked DJ LeMahieu, then play was halted for 38 minutes. On the season McCarthy is now 2-2 with a 3.07 ERA, 3.06 FIP, and 1.02 WHIP.