J-Mac brillant, but Bucs bats not alive
The Pirates lost 4-1 to the Cardinals and the road woes continue as they drop to 16-60 away from Pittsburgh on the season. Despite the loss, J-Mac shined on the mound.
If James McDonald is not inked in the Pirates starting rotation for the 2011 season, his final start this year on Wednesday afternoon may have just crossed the T’s and dotted the I’s.
J-Mac pitched six strong innings allowing one run on five hits, struck out seven and walked none. He needed just 80 pitches through the six innings but was tagged with the loss due to lack of run support.
“That drive he has, you can see it when he’s on the mound,” manager John Russell said. “When he’s in the zone, he can be dominating. When he goes out there, he really is a competitor.”
“I think he took the challenge and threw the ball really well,” Russell said. “He really wanted to finish strong.”
The only run McDonald allowed was a solo-homer to Allen Craig in the fourth inning.
“He took a good at-bat,” McDonald said. “I tip my cap to him. He took a good swing.”
Since being acquired from the Dodgers in the Octavio Dotel trade, J-Mac has made 11 starts and is 4-5. But don’t let his win/loss record fool you. In his Pirates debut, he struck out a career high eight batters. McDonald also had a 20 inning streak in which he didn’t allow a singe run. Although he has had problems with efficiency, he has the potential to be a great asset to the Pirates rotation.
“I’m a better pitcher, but there is still a lot of work to be done to be satisfied with what I did this year,” McDonald said. “When next year comes, I have to compete, so I can still be a starting pitcher. I never have a peace of mind when it comes to competing. I really hate losing.”
The Pirates were not able to put any runs on the board to give J-Mac the win he deserved. In fact, they only managed to get five hits the entire game.
Cardinals start B.J. Walters pitched seven scoreless innings allowing just three hits and struck out four.
“We swung the bat terrible today,” Russell said. “He made some good pitches, but we didn’t do a very good job.”
“We didn’t have very good at-bats,” Russell added. “That’s the bottom line.”
The Pirates head to Florida to take on the Fish for the final four games of the season.