Mar 1, 2013; Sarasota, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher James McDonald (53) throws against the Baltimore Orioles during the bottom of the first inning of a spring training game at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
The thought of James McDonald keeping opposing teams off the scoreboard is rather exciting for Buccos fans. Even though it’s just spring training JMac pitched four scoreless against the Tampa Bay Rays today and we’re rather pumped about it.
Just five days ago, the Baltimore Orioles slugged three bombs of the big Bucco question mark. The final line last Friday was three innings, six hits, four runs, all earned, no walks and one strikeout. McDonald shrugged it off saying he was focusing on his fastball and controlling walks.
Well today was a different day and we trust it can be the start of the return to consistency all Pirates fans have wanted. We will be satisfied with consistency. Dominance can wait.. at least for a few more weeks.
The biggest swing in a questionable 2013 Buccos rotation would have to be the lanky right-hander. McDonald should be the Bucs number three starter after A.J. Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez. Everyone remembers what JMac did in the first half of 2013, what happened in the second half is something everyone is trying to forget.
The Rays couldn’t break the zeroes on the McKechnie Field scoreboard today against McDonald. In fact, he only allowed one hit over his four scoreless innings of work and he erased that quickly from the basepaths.
It wouldn’t be a JMac start without some free passes though and on this day, he issued three. In the second inning he walked two Tampa hitters on only ten pitches. He also beaned one and struckout one.
The Pirates have been focusing on controlling the running game of the opposition and after Desmond Jennings got the only hit JMac would allow on the day, the Bucs starter picked Jennings off first base. We call it payback for abusing Gerrit Cole. If the Pirates pitchers can keep picking runners off base, it will be a breath of fresh air for the Buccos catchers in 2013.
So is JMac still AC/DC? Yeh. No question about it.
No homers today, but a bunch of free 90s.
It wasn’t perfect, but we will take it.
The Pirates lost another one. This time 4-2. Melancon threw an inning and gave up a hit. Wilson threw 1.1 innings allowed a hit, two walks, and got two strikeouts. Russell Martin drove in two runs with a double.