I said to expect a high scoring affair in the lead-in to the game thread, and that's what we got. In addition to having two starting pitchers on the mound with ERAs north of half a dozen, the ball was jumping at USCF tonight. Jermaine Dye & Nick Green each had a HR that probably doesn't get out of any other park in baseball. Dye's was particularly damaging as it came with the bases loaded and only one out in the first inning, giving the White Sox an early 5-0 lead.
Here's all you need to know about McCarthy's start on the fourth. I thought he looked the better than he has in any of his previous big league starts, and he was pulled after 3+IP, having allowed 2HR and 5ER.
I say that he looked better than in the other starts because his control looked a little better. His fastball, specifically, was nicely down in the zone for most of the night. (He did get lit up on a belt high fastball over the heart of the plate to Aubrey Huff, though.) His curveball was sharp, and he was locating it nicely in the first inning; just off the corner low. But he wasn't getting that pitch called for strikes. As a result, he elevated the curveball up in the zone to get it called for a strike, getting it hit hard a few times.
Once again, he hardly threw the change up at all. This pitch, more than anything else, will be McCarthy's key to success at the Major League level. With just the fastball and curve, McCarthy is essentially throwing only fastballs early in the count, then looking to put hitters away with the curve late. The problem is, they can sit on the fastball. He's predictable. I think I only saw one first pitch change up tonight, and that was about a 58 footer. Which is probably why he's not throwing it more, but he's got to throw that pitch down in the zone to be a big league pitcher. He's not there yet.
Up and Down
Speaking of not there yet, McCarthy was sent back to Charlotte after the game, and Bobby Jenks will be called up from Birmingham to take his place. With the All-Star Break approaching and an off-day on Thursday, the Sox don't need a 5th starter for a while. Jenks will be an added power arm to the bullpen.
Unfortunately it appears that Kevin Walker will stay with the big club, at least for the time being. Ross Gload, who is crushing the ball in Charlotte, would be my choice to replace him since Jenks is supposed to bolster the pen. With McCarthy headed back to Charlotte, and Jenks coming from B'Ham, Charlotte probably has to demote somebody to make room for him. That is unless they call up Gload and release Walker. But that makes too much sense. It will never happen.
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