McDonald has struggled since the All-Star break
After a promising start and first half of the season, the Pittsburgh Pirates have moved RHP James McDonald out of the rotation and into the bullpen . McDonald is 3-5 with a 7.08 ERA in the second half. He went 9-3 with a 2.37 ERA in the first half. McDonald has allowed 14 runs in his last three starts — a total of 12 innings pitched. Right-hander Kyle McPherson will start in McDonald’s place Wednesday against Milwaukee.
While McDonald has struggled with inconsistency throughout the second half of the season, the Pirates haven’t won consecutive road games in a month, but they’re still in the thick of the National League wild card chase. The Pirates hit their high-water mark (16 games over .500) on Aug. 8. The team is 73-71 going into today’s game, and halted a 7 game losing streak against the Cubs on Saturday, winning 7-6.
McDonald admitted a lack of focus after his latest loss on Friday “As the games count down, we’ve got to look to give ourselves the best shot to win a game,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “Sometimes the realization something’s been taken away, maybe that can help him . A different kind of route, as far as focus, as far as attention.”