Brandon McCarthy experienced quite the roller coaster in 2016.
What went right
After Tommy John surgery on April 30, 2015, McCarthy made it back to the majors before the 2016 All-Star break. He made two starts before the break, winning both, and in July was 2-1 with a 2.39 ERA in five starts, with 33 strikeouts and nine walks in 26⅓ innings.
McCarthy started the game in which the Dodgers clinched the National League West, striking out six with one walk in 5⅔ innings, allowing two runs on four hits.
After allowing nine home runs to just 94 batters faced in 2015, McCarthy allowed only two home runs in 171 batters faced in 2016.
What went wrong
McCarthy suffered from the yips in August, throwing his season into disarray. His career high for walks in a game entering 2016 was four, something he hadn’t even done since 2009. But in three August starts, the right-hander walked five batters in each game, totaling just 8⅓ innings.
Simply put, McCarthy had no idea where the ball was going.
"Coming back from Tommy John you're not worried your career is over. The yips was a whole different thing,” McCarthy said in September. “[Thinking] ‘I don't ever know if I can throw a baseball in a competitive major league baseball game’.”
He was able to make the necessary adjustments to come back in September, with the one good start above, but McCarthy did not make the Dodgers’ postseason roster.
In his final game of the season, with potentially a postseason bullpen spot up for grabs, McCarthy pitched in relief for the first time since April 25, 2007, entering the sixth inning on Sept. 30 in San Francisco with a 3-2 lead. He faced six batters and did not retire a single one, allowing a walk and five hits. All six runs scored.
Stats: 2-3, 4.95 ERA, 3.70 FIP in 10 games, 9 starts; 44 K, 26 BB in 40 IP, -0.2 rWAR, 0.7 fWAR
Salary: $11 million
Game of the year
In just his third start back from Tommy John surgery, McCarthy pitched six scoreless innings on July 16 in Arizona, striking out eight Diamondbacks while walking none, allowing only three hits.
McCarthy has two years and $20 million remaining on his four-year deal signed before 2015. He will make $10 million in 2017.