Evan Grant continues his Mysteries of the Spring series with an investigation of Brandon McCarthy. He says that McCarthy was one of the better starters on the team last year and has improved as a pitcher, but he just can't seem to stay healthy.
Grant also asks the question that I know I pondered at the time as well, why the Rangers had him throw 118 and 124 pitches in consecutive games just when he seemed to be turning a corner in terms of performance. In a system where we don't necessarily chop every starter at 100 or 110 or 120 pitches just because, McCarthy seemed like the type who you still would want to limit, particularly in back-to-back situations. I know that he had pitched a terrific game on May 24, and I'm sure that he and the club were dying to see him complete a shutout. But that is the sort of emotional decision that I don't think a pitching coach and manager can afford to make with a young pitcher who has battled so many injuries.
Grant also says that McCarthy is no better than third in a three-way competition with Derek Holland and Matt Harrison for the fifth starter job. I find that surprising.