For Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Brandon McCarthy, 2014 has been a tale of two seasons.
For the better part of the campaign, McCarthy has been Arizona’s most dominant starter, breezing through lineups with relative ease.
But the 30-year-old has also been prone to the lopsided number now and again, and Friday night was no exception against the visiting Atlanta Braves.
After being staked to an early 1-0 lead, McCarthy was nearly unhittable over the course of the first four frames. That changed an inning later, however, when Jason Heyward belted a 94 mile per hour cutter over the left field wall for a two-run, opposite-field home run.
While McCarthy would get the run back by himself in the bottom half of the inning, his inability to retire Heyward the next time the two faced off proved to be too much to overcome.
The Braves right fielder was issued a free pass with one out in the inning and scored one batter later on a go-ahead RBI double down the right field line by shortstop Andrelton Simmons.
Three runs off McCarthy was more than enough support for Atlanta ace Julio Teheran, who gave up five hits over seven innings in a 5-2 victory at Chase Field.
Here’s a look back at the three-run defeat by the numbers:
With his lead-off home run in the first, Arizona shortstop Didi Gregorius became the first player in franchise history to achieve the feat in back-to-back starts.
Of late, Trevor Cahill doesn’t look anymore comfortable in the bullpen than he did to start the season in the rotation.
Friday, the right-hander allowed four hits and two insurance runs in the top of the ninth. He’s now given up at least one run in three of his last six appearances.
Martin Prado, acquired from the Braves in the blockbuster trade that sent Upton to Atlanta in Jan. 2013, has hit safely in all seven games against his former mates.
With the loss, McCarthy fell to 1-8 on the season and passed Kevin Correia and Charlie Morton for the league lead in the dubious department of defeats.
McCarthy finished the night with nine strikeouts, his second highest total of the season and one more than he had in his last two starts combined.
Former D-back Justin Upton struck out three times against McCarthy Friday. Upton has 10 appearances this season in which he’s been punched out at least three times.
The former All-Star did, however, knock in a run with a base hit in the ninth.
For the 11th time in 2014, McCarthy gave up a crooked number in the fifth inning. In those 11 innings, he’s surrendered 33 earned runs. In his other 58 innings of work, the second-year D-back has allowed 12 total earned runs.
McCarthy’s RBI single off of Teheran in the bottom of the fifth was the first of his career. Though not considered a threat with the bat, it only took the right-hander 70 career at-bats to record his first run-scoring hit. Before joining the D-backs in 2013, he had previously only registered nine total at-bats.
The D-backs have opened a series nine times at home this season. In those nine series openers, they’ve won just three times — winning percentage of .333.