Since he struck out the side and looked fantastic Monday night, I thought I'd share a conversation I had with Macay McBride last week.
He told me about the work he's done with Roger McDowell this summer is really paying off. He said Roger came to him earlier this year and told him that he looked different from when he saw him in Macon in the South Atlantic League back in 2002. Roger coached Columbus that season.
Macay told him some of the things he was doing differently since then, and Roger immediately encouraged him to go back to being more of himself. One of those changes was in his delivery footwork. His stride is a bit different now from earlier in the season, and Roger said after Macay made that change that he looked more like what he saw in Macon, when Macay was the Sally League Pitcher of the Year.
That same day Macay had a bullpen session, and he told me it was the best he had felt in a long time. So when I saw him do so well tonight, I really felt good about his progress.
I still contend that if we had a strong bullpen this year Macay might have been sent down for more time in Triple-A, just for a bit more seasoning. But it's obvious that he has made great progress.
In his last 23 games (since July 16), Macay McBride has the following stats:
3-0 -- 0.51 ERA -- 11 hits allowed in 17.2 innings pitched
3 runs allowed - 1 earned run allowed - 7 walks - 16 strikeouts
He had 19 walks in the first two months of his season (May and June) in 23.2 innings pitched. Since July 1, in 21.2 innings pitched, Macay has walked only 9 batters.
So if any of you want a direct example of Roger McDowell helping our pitchers, look no further than Macay McBride. The lefty could have a very prominent role in the Atlanta bullpen in 2007.
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look at the Braves’ traditional front office philosophies. Email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.