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Errors Spoil McCarthy's Sparkling Debut

He didn't get the win, but McCarthy was phenomenal tonight in Toronto. Brandon McCarthy made it through eight innings in a fantastically efficient 89 pitches, striking out two and walking one. But why was his amazing effort a disappointment?

The defense. Again. McCarthy didn't get a team effort as strong as his performance deserved, as he had to dance around two errors in the sixth inning, where the Blue Jays plated four runs to tie the game. Josh Willingham homered in the top of the tenth, but Grant Balfour gave up a two-run walk-off home run to Yunel Escobar in the bottom half to give Toronto the victory. Two errors today gives the Athletics nine errors on the year, in just four games. Not the greatest start to what was supposed to be a special year.

But enough about the game. What about Brandon McCarthy? An all-minors top prospect with the White Sox, Brandon McCarthy spent time in Chicago before being traded to Texas, where he was both constantly injured and ineffective. The Rangers finally cut McCarthy after the 2010 season.

Give Brandon a lot of credit, however. Rather than sitting on his laurels, he reinvented himself, transforming from a power pitcher who relied on punchouts into a crafty sinkerballer who uses movement and deception. And the results? Courtesy of the fine folks at


Consider me impressed. Very impressed. Assuming the calibration of the PitchFX installation in Toronto is correct, he throws three pitches—a sinker with tons of tailing movement (the leftmost blob of pitches), a slider (the middle), and a devastating curveball (the ones at the bottom). The sinker was great, allowing McCarthy to get ten groundouts today, but that curveball? That's almost Gio Gonzalez quality. I want to see another start to confirm, but a curveball that drops nine inches? Gio's career mark is 9.7. Barry Zito's (in the PitchFX era) is 9.6. And all of this coupled with Brandon McCarthy's trademark sterling control? We don't have four amazing starters. We have five.

Current Series

Blue Jays lead the series 1-0

Tue 04/05 WP: Jason Frasor (1 - 0)
LP: Grant Balfour (0 - 1)
6 - 7 loss

Oakland Athletics
@ Toronto Blue Jays

Wednesday, Apr 6, 2011, 4:07 PM PDT
Rogers Centre

Dallas Braden vs Jesse Litsch

Mostly cloudy,rain. Winds blowing from left to right field at 10-15 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 45.

Complete Coverage >

Thu 04/07 9:37 AM PDT