Perhaps it will soon be known as “Cutter-Gate.”
Or, maybe, this is a non-story that will run out of steam soon enough.
At any rate, ever since former Diamondback Brandon McCarthy attributed a strong start with the Yankees in which he allowed just one run on six hits with nine strikeouts in a win over the Cincinnati Reds to his throwing a cutter, which he claimed the D-backs wouldn’t let him use, discussion has run rampant about what exactly was going on in the desert.
Was McCarthy, who struggled to a 3-10 record with a 5.01 ERA this season before being sent to New York, making an excuse and looking for someone to blame? Or was he just being honest in saying the Diamondbacks, who don’t exactly have the best reputation when it comes to getting the most out of pitchers these days, negatively impacted his performance?
A guest of Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Tuesday, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said he does not view McCarthy as throwing him or the organization under the bus and he’s not offended by his former player’s comments.
That said, if the right-hander wasn’t using his cutter it was not because of any directive handed down by the skipper or anyone else with the team.
“We were aware of his cutter, and I can tell you we did not tell him he could not throw his cutter,” Gibson said. “We did point out what was happening with his cutter on several occasions.”
What was happening with his cutter, which according to BrooksBaseball.net he threw just 10.34 percent of the time this season, was that opponents hit .310 off the pitch, with a slugging percentage of .643. In the 169 cutters McCarthy threw as a Diamondback this season, seven resulted in strikeouts, seven led to singles, two resulted in doubles and four ended up leaving the park as home runs.
Needless to say it was not his best pitch, though McCarthy did say the team instead wanted him to throw more sinkers, which apparently were even less effective than his cutter.
Regardless, the assertion from McCarthy that the team essentially removed a pitch from his arsenal, especially one that makes him a better pitcher, may not exactly be on point.
“We point out what’s working and what’s not working, (and) the numbers kind of bare that out,” Gibson said. “The pitcher, let me just say this about any pitcher that’s on the mound, it’s ultimately their responsibility to shake and go to what pitch they want to throw.
“They have that power out there and if he wants to shake and he wants to go with it, he can throw that pitch.”