McFarland on his outing
Orioles lefty T.J. McFarland allowed four runs on eight hits with five strikeouts in his first spring start Monday afternoon against the Red Sox. The Orioles’ Rule 5 Draft pick, McFarland has been impressive after a rocky start to camp and the organization is mulling over a way to keep him, with the most logical solution putting him in the bullpen.
The 23-year-old McFarland threw 65 pitches (43 strikes) in the game –which was televised by ESPN– and faced a Boston lineup full of regulars.
“Results weren’t really necessarily what I wanted to do, but in the game I felt good,” he said. “Had a real good changeup. Was around the zone, throwing strikes. Really going into the game that’s all I was asking for was to get a good feel for all my pitches and throw strikes.”
McFarland had faced only Brock Holt and Will Middlebrooks before and he pitched on an incredibly windy day, with the two teams launching numerous homers, including Christian Vazquez’s two-run shot off McFarland.
“For me I mainly am a sinkerballer and of course I left it up a few times today and the wind caught hold of it,” he said. “But you think about [the conditions] and you are aware of it and you try to pitch down in the zone and sometimes you leave it up.”
McFarland said he always gets some nerves before he pitches and he was able to calm himself down on Monday so it felt like any other outing. Monday was the eighth appearance this spring for McFarland, who has pitched to a 4.70 ERA which includes a stretch of eight scoreless innings entering the game.
Did he think it was important to show the Orioles he could hold his own as a starter? McFarland said yes.
“That’s a big part of my game as well, my versatility in terms of being out of the ‘pen and if there’s a necessary spot start I can handle it,” he said. “I think I went out there and showed them that I could start a game, with some more pitches maybe get through five, six innings.”