On September 3rd, while facing his 18th batter of the night, Brandon McCarthy threw an 89 mph cutter to Brendan Ryan. Ryan popped out into foul territory. There wasn't really anything special about that particular plate appearance, other than that it came in the middle of a masterful ten strikeout, zero walk, three hit complete game shutout. But with that foulout, Brandon McCarthy reached a season mark of 139 innings pitched, on the A's 139th game of the season. Which, according to MLB Official Rule 10.22(b), qualified him for the season-ending pitching title. And...
Brandon McCarthy currently leads the American League in FIP.
No, seriously. Not Verlander, not Sabathia, not Weaver, Haren, or Hernandez. An astounding 2.76. He's scheduled to make his final appearance of the season tonight, and he holds an 11 point lead over the second place pitcher, CC Sabathia. For all of the talk about Verlander being an MVP candidate...McCarthy is leading him by 23 points.
The A's signed Brandon McCarthy on a tiny $1MM one year contract, after Brandon had been out of the majors since 2009. After five lackluster seasons, the former top prospect power pitcher decided to reinvent himself, turning into a Halladay-esque control artist who relied on movement and deception, rather than blowing hitters away. What a find.
But how great has this season been? How about in A's history? By FIP- , he has a 71—his FIP is 29 percentage points greater than league average. That's the third greatest season by FIP in Athletics history since the deadball era. The only others? Vida Blue in 1971 (65), and Lefty Grove in 1930 (64). That's it.
So hats off to Brandon McCarthy, for sneakily having one of the best pitching seasons to ever come in an Athletics uniform. Good luck, tonight, Brandon. Here's to many more.
Brandon McCarthy and the A's take on the Mariners in the first game of the last series of the year tonight. First pitch is at 7:10.