The last three starts for right-hander James McDonald were drastically different during Grapefruit League action. McDonald took a no-hitter into the sixth inning on March 24, and overall allowed one run on two hits over seven innings with no walks and seven strikeouts.
During his fifth start of spring training on March 29, McDonald struggled with his command and allowed 10 runs on seven hits over 3.2 innings. He walked seven batters, struck out one and gave up two long balls. McDonald was able to follow that rough outing up with a solid performance on the mound. Facing the Philadelphia Phillies in the final Grapefruit League game on Tuesday, McDonald allowed one run on two hits over three innings. He walked one and struck out three.
“The time before that, he was all over the joint,” Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle said on his last three starts compared. “I’ve said it pretty black and white. The seven inning game where he pitched and gave up one run, it was ‘wow.’ The next time it was ‘wow.’ Just two big definitions of wow. He might have needed it for him. I’m past the point of him needing it for me. He’s going to get the ball and he’s going to go out and pitch . I believe that every time one of these guys takes the field its going to go well. That’s just the way I’m wired…Nothing builds confidence like success. Especially when you’re young.”
McDonald will get the ball today for the third game of the season. He will oppose Vance Worley of the Phillies in the rubber match of the series.
- After facing Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, the Bucs will face another tough pitcher in Worley today.
- Pirates lineup vs. Phillies:
- Phillies lineup vs. Bucs: Juan Pierre 7, Shane Victorino 8, Jimmy Rollins 6, Hunter Pence 9, Jim Thome 3, Ty Wigginton 5, Freddy Glavis 4, Brian Schneider 2, Vance Worley 1
- The Pirates have drawn 78,470 for the first two games of this three-game series. The record for a three-date series at PNC Park is 118,324 –set last year against the Boston Red Sox.
- Last night Alex Presley hit a walkoff single in the 10th inning. It was Presley’s second hit of the game and his first career walkoff hit. It also increased his career average at PNC Park to .318 (34-for-107).
- The Pirates will depart for Los Angeles and the start of a nine-game road trip to LA, San Francisco and Arizona, playing three games in each city. Bucs don’t return to PNC Park until April 20 to face St. Louis for a three-game set.