Maybe this really is the Pirates’ year.
All-Star Game snub James McDonald won Wednesday despite surrendering six runs to the Rockies in five innings at Coors Field. The Pirates knocked Jeremy Guthrie around for six runs in the first three innings and scored three more times in the fifth in a 9-6 victory.
McDonald became the first Pirates pitcher since Paul Maholm on Aug. 18, 2007 to give up six runs in a victory. It had happened just three times since 2000, with Josh Fogg (June 14, 2003 against the Rays) and Kris Benson (May 26, 2004) also accomplishing the feat.
McDonald opened the season with a stretch of 14 straight starts in which he allowed three runs or less, and he entered the All-Star break 9-3 with a 2.37 ERA. He’s struggled in back-to-back outings since, allowing 11 runs — 10 earned — in 9 2/3 innings.
CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.
Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”
On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”
Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.
Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.