Dodgers pitcher Brandon McCarthy trusts front office brain power

Dodgers starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy made his first start of the spring Sunday against the Brewers.
(Chris Carlson / Associated Press)

Even before Brandon McCarthy had any inkling he might sign with the Dodgers, he was intrigued when they hired Andrew Friedman to be their president of baseball operations. McCarthy’s curiosity increased when the analytically-inclined Friedman added Farhan Zaidi and Josh Byrnes to the front office staff.

“I was fascinated by the idea of that many smart cooks in a kitchen,” McCarthy said. “How was that going to work? How does that manifest itself in terms of their player decision?”

After pitching his first game for the Dodgers on Sunday, McCarthy said he was also looking forward to what the team’s analytics department could tell him about himself.

“I try and be diligent in my work and see things, but we all have blind spots,” said McCarthy, who was charged with a run and two hits in a 4-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.


When reflecting on the improvements he made last year after a midseason trade from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the New York Yankees, McCarthy credited the latter’s analytics department.

“They gave me, basically, a dossier of myself,” McCarthy said. “They said, ‘Listen, when you were good, this is what you were doing, this is what you haven’t been doing since you’ve been bad.’”

He started throwing his four-seam fastball with greater frequency. He mixed in more cutters.

The results were almost immediate.

McCarthy was 3-10 with a 5.18 earned-run average in 18 starts with the Diamondbacks last season. He was 7-5 with a 2.89 ERA in 14 starts with the Yankees.

“The whole time in Arizona, I felt so pent up that I was way better than I was showing and I knew my command was still there and stuff was all there and there was nothing going on other than I just kept giving up hits,” he said. “It kind of ran past the point of a joke. I knew that all it was going to take was a little shift, someone seeing something that I wasn’t seeing and I think I would be fine, and that was the case.”

His performance with the Yankees helped him land a four-year, $48-million contract with the Dodgers. McCarthy said the front office was “a pretty big factor” in his decision to sign with them.


“I didn’t think they would let me slide down to an end where, if I was physically able to perform, they would let me get bad without me knowing,” he said.

Season preview?

The lineup the Dodgers will field Monday against the San Francisco Giants could be similar to their opening-day lineup, Manager Don Mattingly said.

With the designated-hitter rule in effect, the Dodgers will play both rookie Joc Pederson and Andre Ethier, who are competing for the outfield position not occupied by Yasiel Puig or Carl Crawford.

Shortstop Jimmy Rollins will lead off, followed in order by DH Crawford, right fielder Puig, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, second baseman Howie Kendrick, catcher Yasmani Grandal, left fielder Ethier, third baseman Juan Uribe and center fielder Pederson.

“You see the length there,” Mattingly said.

The Dodgers will face former All-Star Matt Cain. Left-hander Brett Anderson will start for the Dodgers.

Twitter: @dylanohernandez