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James McDonald has an 8.71 ERA since the All-Star break

Aug 11, 2012, 9:57 AM EDT

James McDonald AP AP

James McDonald has been a big part of the Pirates’ surprising season, but he just hasn’t been the same pitcher since the All-Star break. He hit rock bottom last night against the Padres, giving up a season-high seven runs over just 4 1/3 innings as part of an eventual 9-8 loss.

McDonald actually cruised through the first four innings before coming unglued in the fifth. After issuing a one-out walk to Cameron Maybin, he gave up five straight hits to blow a 7-1 lead. The big blow was a game-tying three-run homer by Chase Headley.

McDonald has an ugly 8.71 ERA over six starts since the All-Star break after posting a 2.37 ERA in 17 starts during the first half of the season. The big problem? The home run ball. He has allowed eight home runs in 31 innings since the All-Star break after giving up just seven in 110 innings during the first half. He has also issued 21 walks after giving up just 31 for the entire first half.

Regression was probably inevitable for McDonald anyway, but it’s hitting him all at once and at the worst time for the Pirates. It will be interesting to see whether the Pirates continue to exercise patience or send McDonald to the bullpen while giving Kevin Correia another shot in the rotation.

  1. icanspeel - Aug 11, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    That has to be hitting rock bottom blowing a 7-1 lead the very next inning.

    • jimeejohnson - Aug 11, 2012 at 12:59 PM

      Agony of defeat.

  2. agc99 - Aug 11, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    Losing a 7-1 lead when your team has had a winning record in 19 years asks one questions. What does JSuck have to do to get dropped from the rotation. We can’t afford to keep putting him out there. Looks like the wheels are starting to fall off and headed back to a 20th losing season. So much hope and it’s slowly going away.

  3. johnnyb1976 - Aug 12, 2012 at 1:09 AM

    Just like I said last week the Pirates would come back down to earth, and it is starting to happen.

  4. jimmymarlinsfan - Aug 12, 2012 at 7:56 AM

    They should start my lil cuz Jeff Locke since he is with the big team anyways…he has been phenomenal at AAA and definitely earned the chance

  5. willclarkgameface - Aug 12, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    Damn you James McDonald! I gave him a start yesterday on my fantasy team and SMACK! I think release from my team is imminent and a skipped start on the Pirates as well. Can we all agree that the All-Star break, this ridiculous 4 day vacation in the middle of a pennant race is just silly? It was bad enough when it was 3, but now 4. Keep these guys playing and in shape. It only takes 4 days of going off track to lose it for a LONG time. See James McDonald.

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