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D-backs’ Brandon McCarthy searching for rhythm after disappointing outing

Heading into the 2013 season, the Arizona Diamondbacks were relying on starter Brandon McCarthy to be a solid addition to their rotation. However, the right-hander can’t seem to find his groove after two starts with his new club.

Tuesday, McCarthy made his second start of the season against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and he certainly had some issues. He lasted 6 2/3 innings while giving up 10 hits, six runs (four earned) and two walks. He also threw 115 pitches before being removed in the seventh inning.

After the game McCarthy seemed satisfied with how he pitched but not necessarily how the game was called.

“That’s as well as I’ve thrown a baseball in my professional career, without a doubt,” McCarthy said. “I absolutely felt like I was able to do everything I wanted to do. I just think we got in a routine there that we weren’t able to change gears fast enough. We weren’t changing things up enough.”

McCarthy also said after the game that the issues were on 0-2 counts, something the majority of hitters were sitting at in the fourth inning when he gave up five runs on four hits.

“There was no problem with consistency, no problem with anything,” said McCarthy. “For the way I felt and the way I threw, it’s just an unacceptable outing.”

His first start on April 3 against the St. Louis Cardinals wasn’t any better. While he didn’t factor in the decision of the D-backs’ 16-inning win, McCarthy did give up six runs in five innings of work.

“I thought in his first start he threw everything hard. I didn’t think he used his changeup very much, said manager Kirk Gibson on Tuesday before McCarthy’s second outing. “I know he worked on it a lot in spring training; I’d like to see him do that some more.”

Gibson said he liked what he saw early in spring training from the 6-foot-7 right-hander but suggested that McCarthy might still be in the process of sharpening his mechanics.

“Early in the spring you guys remember how sharp he was with his location and at the end of spring, not as sharp,” said Gibson. “I think he was kind of searching for a little mechanical flaw that allows him to throw the ball where he wants to throw it. He knows what he wants to do, if he gets it there he’ll be extremely tough to hit.”

The 29-year-old has had his fair share of success in the past. He was the Opening Day starter for the Oakland A’s in 2012 and had an 8-6 record and a 3.24 ERA in 18 starts before suffering a season-ending head injury on September 5.

“He’s got some experience, and he’s got a little different angle than some of the other guys,” said Gibson. “He’s really tall, lanky, very, very competitive. I’m not sure people understand that.”

The D-backs signed McCarthy to a two-year contract on December 29, 2012.