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With fastball sitting around 88-89 mph, McDonald has concerning start in getting roughed up by Cardinals

CARDINALS 10 – PIRATES 6
Win: Lance Lynn (2-0)
Loss: James McDonald (1-2)
PITTSBURGH — James McDonald (1-2, 5.27 ERA) was roughed up for 8 hits and 8 runs in just 1.2 innings, and the St. Louis Cardinals (8-5) scored 10 runs in a 10-6 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates (6-7) on Monday night at PNC Park.
The storyline for the Pirates tonight was James McDonald who had a very concerning start and it wasn’t about his stat line of allowing 8 hits, 8 runs, walking 2 and having no strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings.
“There wasn’t anything real crisp,” manager Clint Hurdle said of McDonald’s outing. “The execution and the lack of it, he just couldn’t get the ball where he wanted to get it and couldn’t repeat it.”
Hurdle cited McDonald’s inability to get pitches over the plate.
“Too many pitches up and over the plate against a very good hitting team,” Hurdle said.
The biggest red flag for McDonald tonight was his velocity where his fastball was sitting in the 88-89 range, hitting 92 mph once on just one of his 46 pitches. McDonald is normally in the 93-94 mph range. “I threw a lot of bad pitches and didn’t hit my spots and they made me pay,” McDonald said. “You leave balls up in the zone and good hitters are going to hit them hard.”
Hurdle is unaware of McDonald dealing with an injury.
“I haven’t seen anything glaring, but we saw what you saw as far as velocity, finish and command,” Hurdle said of McDonald’s down velocity. “There were some challenges out there for him, a number of them for him.”
With the loss, the Pirates fall to 6-7 but continue to hit the ball very well of the late. The Pirates put up six runs and got another big night from Starling Marte who went 3-5 with a double and RBI. Neil Walker homered in the loss, his first of the season, a two-run shot off Lance Lynn in the third inning.
“I like the way we’re playing,” Hurdle said of the Pirates who have won five of seven games. “The hiccups we’ve had off the mound have been challenging but we’ve been able to handle them so far.”
Notes: Francisco Liriano recovering from a broken arm he suffered around Christmas time, threw three shutout innings for Class-A Bradenton on Monday night, striking out six.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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