For the first time this season, Brandon McCarthy tossed a complete game and won.
Now, it’s not the first time this season that McCarthy has gone the distance; he’s done that four times. It also marked the second consecutive game that he has pitched the entire game.
On this particular Saturday, though, McCarthy was masterful on the mound.
He allowed just three hits while walking none and striking out ten Mariners without allowing a run. The shutout was only the second of his career, and first of the season.
The A’s were able to secure the victory thanks to a two-run double by Cliff Pennington in the fourth inning and a fifth-inning solo homer by Scott Sizemore.
McCarthy completed the game having thrown just 98 pitches, and he walked off with the victory to a standing ovation from the 19,732 fans in attendance at Oakland’s O.co Coliseum.
“That was awesome,” McCarthy told MLB.com’s Jane Lee following the game. “It’s one of those things where as much time as I’ve spent hurt and you’ve got everyone out there and behind you when things are going well, it kind of makes you feel like you’re on top of the world.”
The injuries that McCarthy referenced are one of the main reasons he has managed to fly under the radar for much of the season. His signing in the offseason was viewed by most fans as only a depth signing, and his winning of the fifth starter position was seen only as the result of Rich Harden injuring himself and Tyson Ross being inexperienced as an MLB starter.
Despite being effective early on, his six-week stint on the disabled list just appeared to be the norm for his career path.
And yet, he just keeps putting together consistent effective performances on the mound, start after start.
For the season he has an 8-7 record, although that win total would certainly be higher were it not for the Jekyll-and-Hyde offense of the A’s this season. His ERA is a very respectable 3.41 this season, and heading into Saturday's performance against the Mariners, he was allowing just 1.5 BB/9 this season. He also posted a 6.3 K/9 rate, although it is worth noting that he has recorded 10 strikeouts in each of his past two outings.
With Brett Anderson out for the 2012 season and Dallas Braden’s status uncertain as his rehab from shoulder surgery progresses, McCarthy very well could be auditioning for a new contract to return to Oakland in 2012.
With the inconsistency displayed by Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez at times this season, McCarthy’s reliable performances and veteran experience would be a welcome return as the A’s put a young rotation back out on the diamond in 2012.
Another few solid performances as the season winds down would certainly strengthen his case for a well deserved new deal to stay in Oakland for another season.