James McDonald has an 8.71 ERA since the All-Star break

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James McDonald has been a big part of the Pirates’ surprising season, but he just hasn’t been the same pitcher since the All-Star break. He hit rock bottom last night against the Padres, giving up a season-high seven runs over just 4 1/3 innings as part of an eventual 9-8 loss.

McDonald actually cruised through the first four innings before coming unglued in the fifth. After issuing a one-out walk to Cameron Maybin, he gave up five straight hits to blow a 7-1 lead. The big blow was a game-tying three-run homer by Chase Headley.

McDonald has an ugly 8.71 ERA over six starts since the All-Star break after posting a 2.37 ERA in 17 starts during the first half of the season. The big problem? The home run ball. He has allowed eight home runs in 31 innings since the All-Star break after giving up just seven in 110 innings during the first half. He has also issued 21 walks after giving up just 31 for the entire first half.

Regression was probably inevitable for McDonald anyway, but it’s hitting him all at once and at the worst time for the Pirates. It will be interesting to see whether the Pirates continue to exercise patience or send McDonald to the bullpen while giving Kevin Correia another shot in the rotation.

Mets place Noah Syndergaard on 10-day injured list with hamstring strain

Noah Syndergaard
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Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard has been placed on the 10-day injured list, the club announced Sunday. Syndergaard was removed from Saturday’s outing against the Cardinals after sustaining a bout of tightness in his right hamstring, which now appears to necessitate some time on the shelf.

It’s an unfortunate development for the 26-year-old, who has struggled to pitch to consistent results over his 2019 campaign so far. Through Saturday’s 8-7 win over St. Louis, he carries a 5-4 record in 15 starts with a 4.55 ERA, 2.3 BB/9, 8.8 SO/9, and 2.0 fWAR across 95 innings. He pitched through six solid innings on Saturday, allowing five runs, two walks, and five strikeouts, but couldn’t stay to finish out the seventh and limped off the field after giving up a leadoff single to Yairo Muñoz.

For now, Syndergaard is expected to miss at least one start, though the Mets won’t be able to project a timetable for his return to the mound until he undergoes further evaluation. They also have yet to determine a suitable replacement in the rotation, and MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo suggests that their internal options are currently limited to lefty reliever Seth Lugo, prospect Anthony Kay, and rookie Walker Lockett.