The New York Yankees acquired Brandon McCarthy from the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 6 for Vidal Nuno and $1 million cash, and the consensus was that the Yankees get the better end of the deal. McCarthy’s inflated 5.01 ERA was rough for the Diamondbacks despite an xFIP of only 2.90, and his then 55.3 percent groundball rate seemed like a great match for flyball-friendly Yankee Stadium.
Little did we know that the Yankees had struck gold.
Since the all-star break, only two pitchers have a strikeouts per nine innings greater than 9.50 and a walks per nine lower than 1.50: David Price and McCarthy. McCarthy’s 2.28 FIP ranks fourth behind Corey Kluber, Alex Cobb and Clayton Kershaw. Expected FIP? McCarthy is No. 1 at 2.38. Needless to say, he has been absolutely dominant for New York.
Brandon continued his great stretch in pinstripes with a four-hit complete-game shutout Thursday afternoon against the Astros, striking out eight batters and walking none. Here’s a luscious strikeout with his sinker in the second inning against Marc Krauss:
McCarthy throws his signature sinker over 53 percent of the time and here he commands it perfectly to sneak back over the plate just enough to get the call and punch out Krauss. In the eight games he has started for the Bombers, McCarthy’s sinker has accumulated 2.2 runs above average, and increased its vertical movement from 5.5 to 6.4.
In addition to his effective sinker, McCarthy throws his cutter 18.3 percent of the time — darting the opposite direction of his sinker — and a curveball 23.6 percent of the time. With these three pitches, he is able to have three types of movement — in, away and down – to keep batters guessing.
McCarthy looks like a new pitcher in the Bronx, and while it has been a small sample size, he has turned into the elite starting option the Yankees desperately needed in the second half.
Nick Pollack writes for Pitcher GIFs and can found making an excessive amount of GIFs on Twitter @PitcherGIFs.