Daniel McCutchen said it wasn’t his best stuff on Saturday, but it was something to build off of.
McCutchen went six innings – longer than he had in any of his three previous starts earlier this season – with four runs on seven hits, two walks and two strikeouts. He struggled with his fastball location and fell behind in the count in the early innings, but his command, changeup and slider all got better as the game went on.
“Early on I definitely had some jitters and some nerves and kind of sped everything up and didn’t really give myself a chance the first couple innings,” McCutchen said. “Although the second inning, 0-2 pitch, one away from getting out of it, and I left a fastball that got too much of the plate (on Daric Barton’s two-RBI double). After that I felt I slowed the game down and got a few breaks.”
McCutchen was starting for Zach Duke, who is on the disabled list with a flexor pronator strain in his elbow and expected to miss at least one more start. So did he do enough tonight to stay, or might the Pirates want to take a look at Charlie Morton, who pitched a two-hit complete game with Triple-A Indianapolis on Thursday?
McCutchen got a chance to watch Morton pitch in that game before heading to the West Coast.
“Reminded me of the Charlie I saw in Chicago last year,” he said, referring to Morton’s first major league shutout, a four-hit win over the Cubs last September. “Last inning, popping 96 (miles per hours), on pitch (numbers) 105 and 106.”