52 punchouts in his last 41.2 innings. The most strikeouts in Major League Baseball since April 25. He’s tall, thin, and nasty on the mound.
It has become obvious that Pittsburgh Pirates starter James McDonald has went from a player who most everyone thought had enought to make it as a big league pitcher, to becoming a front of the rotation ace.
McDonald has taken away the question marks by putting up solid outing after solid outing. Last night, JMac came into PNC Park on a roll having struckout eleven Washington Nationals as he flirted with a no-no right in front of our eyes.
He was sailing last week as he effortlessly punched out seven of the first nine Nats he faced. It wasn’t the first time he flirted with a no-no either. Remember the Rockies game?
With the Mets looking to set up a rubber match in the Bucs series, McDonald gave up just one run to the New York Mets holding them to four hits over his seven innings pitched.
Skipper Clint Hurdle joked before the game that JMac has earned all the ribbing he has received from his teammates. Against the Mets, the Bucs right hander struck out the side in the first inning. He struck out eight batters while firing 104 pitches, of which 71 went for strikes. The kid has arrived, just look at some of the reasons why:
He has lowered his BB/9 to 2.83 which is way down from his 3.93 last season.
JMac has increased his K/9 to 9.10. That is well over a strikeout per inning increase from his career numbers.
The groundball rates have increased, the homers per nine innings are down to around four percent. The ERA is diving, in fact it’s his best in his time in the bigs. Hell, even his FIP is ridiculous at 2.38.
He has at least seven strikeouts in his last six starts.
He is perfect in quality starts going nine-for-nine.
JMac has broken up a no-hitter.
McDonald brings a WAR of 1.5 for the Bucs.
Kevin Youk for JMac….?