Remember that spring training numbers mean nothing. The 10 runs Kevin Millwood gave up in three
innings on Monday is no more indicative of anything significant than the .396/.404/.585
Rangers spring that Matt Kata put together two years ago.
Remember that. The numbers
And then suspend that for a minute as you digest that, today,
Brandon McCarthy, pitching in official exhibition action for the first time in two
weeks, strung together maybe the most impressive mound performance of any
Rangers hurler yet this spring.
He was efficient, needing only 47 pitches to breeze through
four innings of work.
He was stingy, allowing one hit – a harmless third-inning
He was in command, walking nobody.
He was aggressive, offering a first-pitch strike to 11 of
the 13 batters he faced, with a steady diet of sinking fastballs down in the
zone and on both sides of the plate, mixing in his new slider.
He was deceptive, striking out two Mariners looking, and getting
a third to swing through strike three.
That’s the Brandon McCarthy that Texas traded for two winters ago.
Those were some good-looking meaningless numbers today. For a pitcher whose psyche and tenacity have
been questioned since his arrival in Texas, fairly or not, it would be a really
great thing if the 25-year-old – younger, for instance, than Thomas Diamond and
Doug Mathis – can use today’s effort as a springboard to another strong one and
another one after that, taking some confidence into April. Confidence that his shoulder is fine,
confidence that he can get hitters out, confidence that if he trusts his stuff
and commands it, he can give the team one more solid inning than he was
expected to, as he did today.
The numbers are meaningless in the grand scheme, but if it’s
all the same to McCarthy, I wouldn’t mind a bit if he decided to take some meaning
from them himself.