Brandon McCarthy returned from Tommy John surgery and threw five shutout innings with eight strikeouts against the Colorado Rockies. He was surprisingly sharp for a pitcher who last started a Major League game in April 2015, and said the outing largely felt like any other.
Getting the right-hander back was a boost for the Los Angeles Dodgers as their rotation has been ravaged by injuries since Spring Training. It came with added significance as Clayton Kershaw is now on the disabled list due to a mild disc herniation.
McCarthy made his second start of the season on Saturday and didn’t fare nearly as well. He went the same distance as his previous outing, had six strikeouts but allowed three runs on three hits, including a home run.
According to Andy McCullough of the LA Times, McCarthy sensed he was in for an outing with which he would need to labor through:
He understood, even before the game started, he would be climbing uphill. He had no feel for the baseball, and “it felt like I might have been throwing a football.”
“Usually if you’re not good in the ‘pen, it doesn’t mean anything,” McCarthy said. “Today, I was bad in the ‘pen, and I felt like ‘Oh, boy. I don’t know how I’m going to get this back.’”
Although McCarthy struggled in his start, he exited with the game tied, though the Dodgers took their decided 4-3 lead in the bottom of the fourth. The 33-year-old now will get extra rest before taking the hill again as Sunday’s game is the Dodgers’ last before the All-Star Game.
They resume play on Friday, beginning a nine-game road trip in Arizona. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently said he hasn’t yet decided how the starting rotation will be aligned after the All-Star break.