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2013 Stats: 5 GS, 0-3, 7.48 ERA, 1.77 WHIP, 27.2 IP, 45 H, 4 BB, 18 K
Injury doesn't seem to be the reason why Brandon McCarthy has struggled through his first five starts in a Diamondbacks uniform, as there hasn't been so much as a whisper that he's dealing with an arm issue or aftereffects from the head injury that he suffered last season.
Yet a seemingly healthy McCarthy has been shelled in each of his five outings, allowing at least four earned runs in all but one of his starts in 2013. In his one start that he didn't surrender four earned runs, McCarthy needed 102 pitches to get through four innings—after three runs had crossed the plate.
Via FanGraphs, almost 70 percent of his pitches are being thrown for strikes (337-of-491), so it's not a lack of command that's causing his bloated numbers, though it should be noted that nearly 80 percent of his pitches are either his cut fastball or slider.
Perhaps McCarthy should be looking to throw his curveball and changeup more often than he is, if for no other reason than to keep hitters off-balance.
Arizona has plenty of pitching depth, so it's not a case of the team being stuck with McCarthy in the rotation should his struggles continue. That said, the team didn't sign him to a two-year, $15.5 million contract this offseason to serve as the team's long-man out of the bullpen.
With no obvious reasons as to why he's been as ineffective as he has been and a recent track record of success, you have to figure that McCarthy will get back on track sooner rather than later.