McDonald Looking for Another Good ‘Wow’ of an Outing

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.
“You’ve got to grind out at-bats against these pitchers,” Hurdle said. “It’s almost like playoff baseball, first two games of the season. Teams don’t do a lot of damage against those two pitchers. We’ve got to get good at-bats. We gave away a handful of at-bats last night. But, all in all, we’re not getting a lot to hit. We know we’ve got to step up our game offensively. The left-handers know Worley is going to pitch both sides of the plate with the fastball, he’s going to spin the ball and throw that changeup. We’ve got to find a way to back up that changeup and focus on the big part of the field, left-center field for the left-handers, or it could be a long day for some of them.”
  • Pirates lineup vs. Phillies:
Alex Presley 7
Jose Tabata 9
Andrew McCutchen 8
Neil Walker 4
Garrett Jones 3
Clint Barmes 6
Pedro Alvarez 5
Michael McKenry 2
James McDonald 1
  • 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.

 

 

About Kristy Robinson

Prior to joining Pirates Prospects, Kristy spent a year as the Beat Reporter covering the Pittsburgh Pirates for Ohio Valley Athletics. Kristy will be covering the Major League team for the site. Kristy studied Fashion Design and Communications at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, California (2007) and Broadcast Journalism at Kent State University (2010). While living in L.A., Kristy spent several years as an actress in T.V. shows and movies. She realized she wanted to be a baseball reporter after attending games at Dodger stadium and meeting Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully. Kristy was raised in East Liverpool, Ohio and grew up going to Pirates and Cleveland Indians games in the 90’s. She first fell in love with the game at five years old while playing in the front yard with her older brother, Mike and played softball until College.

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