McBride was generally great in 2005 despite a 5.79 ERA; he had one bad outing and ridiculously bad luck, opposing hitters hitting almost .500 against him on balls in play. He hurt his forearm — a scary injury, since it was mysterious forearm pain that foreshadowed Hampton’s eventual elbow surgery — in spring of 2006. When he came back, McBride had the typical problems of a elbow injury sufferer: control difficulties. In the first half of the 2006 season, he walked 20 men in just 26 2/3 IP. Meanwhile, he struck out just 15. He had a 4.39 ERA and pitched worse than that. In the second half, the McBride of 2005 returned, as he struck out 31 and walked 12 in 30 IP. His second half ERA was 3.00, even though he was again somewhat hit-unlucky and also allowed his first two homers.
Presumably, McBride will serve as a LOOGY with Gonzalez as a setup man in the seventh and eighth, because using Gonzalez to only pitch to lefties would be stupid, while McBride has had problems getting righties out. Lefties hit .181/.252/.295 against McBride, similar to what they did against Gonzalez. But righthanders hit .312/.432/.404. Against lefties, he struck out 30 and walked 9; against righties, it was 16 and 23. But who knows? I now more than ever expect McBride to follow the Mike Stanton career path and pitch until he’s 45.