Farewell, Brandon McCarthy

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It’s hard to imagine someone being easier to root for than Brandon McCarthy. This guy’s been injured so much he’s essentially baseball’s Steve-0. He’s been on the disabled list, by my moderately researched count, 16 times in his career for a litany of injuries on damn near every part of his body.

Well, Brandon McCarthy’s career recently came to an end, as he was returned from his rehab assignment to the 60-day disabled list and will be retiring at the end of the season. He had been rehabbing in Gwinnett to potentially rejoin the club as a reliever in September.

2018 had certainly been an up and down year for McCarthy, who finishes with a rocky 4.92 ERA over 15 starts and with an unremarkable 0.2 fWAR. There were certainly valleys, but he also had some incredible peaks with the Braves this year due to his performance against division rivals. In 4 starts, McCarthy logged 21.2 innings of 2.08 ERA baseball against the team’s current biggest rival, the Philadelphia Phillies. Likewise, he excelled against the Nationals, earning a 2.45 ERA over 2 starts. In fact, McCarthy’s splits against sub .500 teams and teams above it are astounding. Also, have you seen the guy’s career stats?

Opponent — Game-Level
SplitWLW-L%ERAGGSGFCGSHOSVIPHRERHRBBIBBSOHBPBKWPBFWHIPSO9SO/W
Philadelphia Phillies401.0002.0844000021.22055010022002921.3859.12.20
Washington Nationals002.4522000011.083312010000410.9098.25.00
WP lt .50012.3336.6988000040.15932301070270001801.6366.03.86
WP of .500+51.8333.0577000038.13513135140380021591.2788.92.71
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/7/2018.

 

It’s been a nice career indeed for the 35-year-old veteran, which began by starting 10 games for the eventual World Series champion 2005 White Sox. From there he traveled to  Texas for parts of 3 seasons, before electing free agency over an outright AAA assignment after missing the entire 2010 season due to right shoulder surgery. It turned out to be one of the smartest moves of his career, as his stint with the Oakland A’s was Brandon at his best. McCarthy threw 5 complete games and posted a 3.32 ERA in 25 starts for the A’s, while also finishing as the league leader in FIP (2.86). Another strong season in Oakland was cut short after Former Barves Grate™ Erick Aybar hit a line drive that struck him in the head, requiring emergency surgery. While he thankfully recovered, he didn’t return to the mound again that year. Luckily, the late Kevin Towers came calling with a 2-year contract offer to play in Arizona. After a year and a half of Arizona’s Chase Field doing him no favors, McCarthy was sent to the Yankees, where threw 90.1 innings of 2.89 ERA baseball over 14 starts. He translated that success into a huge 4-year deal with the Dodgers, where he fell victim to Tommy John surgery after just 4 starts, and after a few injury plagued seasons, eventually came to the Braves in the tax evasion scam that was the Matt Kemp trade.

It’s been a roller coaster career for him, so it’s fitting that 2018 was full of highs and lows for him.  But with a 3 game lead over the Phillies heading into the second week of September, Brandon McCarthy’s contributions are proving to be a crucial part of the 2018 Braves.

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