Brandon McCarthy returned to the mound Saturday for his first start since facing the Colorado Rockies on June 25. He only went three innings, threw three wild pitches, and was placed on the 10-day disabled list the following day due to right knee tendinitis.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and McCarthy both downplayed the wildness and neither believed the case was as serious as the yips that derailed the right-hander last season. Roberts projected McCarthy would make a relatively quick return.
He threw a four-inning simulated game with High-A Rancho Cucamonga on July 3, which paved the way to starting against the Kansas City Royals.
After throwing 75 pitches over six innings, McCarthy gave his outing context, via Joshua Thornton of MLB.com:
“It was a good step forward,” McCarthy said about his outing. “Started off well, kind of got wobbly there in the middle … some good, some bad, but it was good step forward learning where I’m at.”
The Royals were aggressive early, which allowed McCarthy to get through three scoreless innings on 28 pitches (20 strikes), with just one hit allowed. Jorge Bonifacio’s leadoff single in the fourth snapped a string of seven consecutive batters retired.
The next inning saw some of the command issues that plagued McCarthy in his last start. Whit Merrifield doubled with two outs and advanced to third base on a wild pitch. He then scored on a passed ball.
McCarthy walked Bonifacio, which prompted a mound visit from Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt. That seemingly aided the 34-year-old as locked back in to retire Lorenzo Cain in a seven-pitch at-bat.
Next for McCarthy is a start in the second half, likely Friday in the opener of a three-game road series against the Miami Marlins. McCarthy didn’t factor into the decision of the Dodgers’ walk-off win, and is 6-3 on the season with a career-best 3.12 ERA.