SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Making his final spring start, right-hander Brandon McCarthy made it a quality one.
He pitched six innings allowing three runs on six hits. He walked one and struck out six, helping the Arizona Diamondbacks resume Cactus League play with a 14-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
The Diamondbacks smashed six home runs and finished with 20 hits, making Wednesday afternoon an enjoyable one for the 12,755 in attendance at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.
It was the sixth sellout of the spring.
The offense was a welcome sight considering the disappointing performances in Australia, but it was McCarthy’s performance that proved to be the biggest highlight.
“For me, he’s the star of the game,” said bench coach Alan Trammell, who acted as manager while Kirk Gibson recovers from recent knee surgery.
McCarthy cruised through the first three innings with one hit allowed and five strikeouts, including all three batters in the third, part of a stretch in which he retired seven in a row.
“Most everything was where I wanted it,” he said. “A few pitches here and there that weren’t great, but overall me and Miggy (Miguel Montero) got in a good groove early.”
McCarthy ran into trouble in the fourth when the Cubs scored twice. Later, he allowed a run on back-to-back two-out doubles in the sixth.
It was McCarthy’s longest outing of the spring, where he showed to be one of the team’s better pitchers.
“Outstanding. He looks like he’s on a mission. Making good quality pitches,” Trammell said. “With his sinker and the movement he seemed to jam a lot of their hitters and keep them off balance, which is what makes him effective. That’s who he is. That’s how he pitches. And that’s what we need this season from him.”
McCarthy ended Cactus League 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA and a 4-to-1 strikeout-to-walk radio.
“Overall, I executed a lot this spring whether it’s a minor league game a big league game,” he said, “I felt like I threw most of the pitches where I wanted to; threw with conviction; the stuff was all there. I was able to accomplish what I wanted to while I was here. Those are all good things. How those will translate into regular season results we’ll find out, but I feel like I’m in a really good place.”
The next time McCarthy takes the mound will be the home opener at Chase Field against the San Francisco Giants on Monday.
“It’s a cool opportunity. The fans, it’s their first chance to get out and see you guys again,” he said. “There’s always a lot of atmosphere there. It’s kind of the closest you get to a playoff atmosphere in the regular season until the season starts drawing to an end.”