Brandon McCarthy Throws a Four Hit, Complete Game Shutout of Astros

Howard Goldin

The Thursday matinee contest at Yankee Stadium was reminiscent of Yankee games of the past. A very large crowd of 41,767 fans attended a fast moving game of two hours and seven minutes in which the Yankee starter pitched a complete game shutout of the visiting team. Both pitchers hurled complete games, which is another similarity to the past.

Time of games is a factor in the popularity of the sport. Thursday’s game was the shortest Yankee nine inning home game since June 18, 1996.

In reality, the Yankees are nine games behind the American League East leading Baltimore Orioles and behind three teams for the second Wild Card position. The Yankee victory on Thursday broke a four home game losing streak and was only the team’s third win in its most recent ten games.

The recent reality has not made the players on the Yankees nor many of their fans ready to throw in the towel for the 2014 season. Chase Headley, a Yankee since July 22, has faith in his current team, “We know we can play a lot better than we have. I like our chances every time we go out there. I expect to win.”

Brandon McCarthy’s outstanding start on Thursday is the latest example of his complete turnaround in success since late June. McCarthy, as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, won one game of his first 16 starts. In his last 10 games, the 31 year old has compiled a 7-2 mark.

McCarthy’s control of his pitches has historically been excellent. He is third in the majors in walks per nine innings in the last four seasons. In the last 10 starts, he walked nine batters while fanning 64.

McCarthy, in 6.1 innings in each of his most recent losses, gave up seven hits and two earned runs. The defeats could more factually be attributed to the lack of Yankee hitting rather than defects in McCarthy’s pitching as the Yankees were shut out in both of those games in August.

In seven of his nine innings of pitching, the California native retired all three batters he faced. He gave up two hits in the fourth and two hits in the seventh. Runners were on second and third in both innings, yet McCarthy got out of each jam. Girardi praised the starter for his ability to extricate himself from difficult situations, “He [McCarthy] has the ability to make pitches when you need it.”

The complete game was McCarthy’s ninth in 147 major league starts. The shutout was his fourth in the majors.

He admitted tiredness before the conclusion, “I started to get tired, wobbly through the fifth.” McCarthy gave a great deal of credit to his catcher, Francisco Cervelli, for encouraging him to continue until the game ended by yelling at him.”

The catcher praised McCarthy’s pitching and tried to minimize his own efforts as catcher, “He [McCarthy] did an amazing job. He was very consistent. I didn’t want to give up any runs, so I tried to give him a little push. I was just trying to make him believe he was that good today.”

The only runs scored in the game, three, came in the bottom of the second. Mark Teixeira led off with a single. Martin Prado followed with a double. Both scored on a run batted in double by the next batter, Chase Headley. Headley scored the final run on a sacrifice fly by Ichiro Suzuki.

Girardi commented upon the batting in that inning, “We had some really good at bats in the second. It was nice to get him that early lead and just let him work.”