The Pirates offense exploded for 9 runs against Mike Minor, et. al. and James McDonald had a truly impressive outing. The offensive output should be taken with a grain of salt. An earlier post here examines Pedro Alvarez’s home run. It starts out on a positive note, but upon realizing that Yamaico Navarro did essentially the same thing as Alvarez, Alvarez’s accomplishment becomes far less impressive. That said, the pitching performance stood out to me (from the statline and what was available as highlights from mlb.com) far more than the offensive break through.
McDonald pitched solid innings, and his strikeout, hit, and walk totals speak for themselves. The only real damage (bar one run) was a two run shot by Freddie Freeman. From what I saw, the pitch McDonald made was exactly what the catcher called for: a fastball down and in to Freeman. As it happened, Freeman clubbed it out, but there’s nothing wrong with a 93 mph down and in fastball as a first pitch in an at bat. Since the pitch that burned him wasn’t even a bad one, I was extremely encouraged by McDonald’s performance.