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Saturday, March 13, 2010
Game thoughts: McCarthy, Arias and others

By Richard Durrett

A few thoughts on today's 5-0 win against Cleveland. BTW, the park here in Goodyear is located near the airplane graveyard. There are many jets out of use sitting out here, including a gaggle from Continental. And I mean some large jets, including some 747s. Anyway, back to baseball. A few thoughts:

* Brandon McCarthy pitched a scoreless three innings. He started off well, getting ahead to seven of the first nine hitters he faced. But he ran into some trouble in the third. A lead off double and a walk put runners at first and second with no outs. McCarthy threw seven straight balls at one point. But he rebounded to get Grady Sizemore to popup on a 3-1 count and settled down. He was efficient enough that he had to throw some additional pitches in the bullpen. Important note: It is worth noting that the Indians had maybe three starters in the lineup on Saturday. There was no radar gun at the stadium, but I asked a scout with one and he said McCarthy threw 86-88 mph and touched 89 once or twice. Just FYI.

* McCarthy said he was pleased with his cutter as he wanted to throw it for strikes and get some swings on it, which he did. He wasn't as happy with his off-speed stuff, including the curve and changeup. He threw 15 extra pitches in the bullpen in an effort to throw around 60 and said he was working mainly on the consistency of his sinker, which he felt wasn't at the level he wanted on Saturday.

* Joaquin Arias was up and down on Saturday at second base. He got an RBI single in the fourth after an infield single in the second. And he made a nice play on a bouncer from Sizemore. Arias ranged to his left, spun around and threw out a runner at second on a tough play. But he also didn't beat out a bunt going from second to third. Washington thought he should have beaten the throw.

"I've got no complaints about his defense," Washington said. "We'll keep working on the baserunning."

* LHP Darren Oliver had a 1-2-3 fourth inning for a quick stint. He kept hitters off balance and got a strikeout of Lou Marson. He continues to look solid this spring. He's pitched three innings in regular games and has allowed one hit to go along with three strikeouts.

* SS Elvis Andrus experienced some good and bad on Saturday. He had an error on a routine play, worrying about trying to flip to second before he had the ball out of his glove. It's one of those "focus" plays that Andrus is working on. But he came back shortly thereafter and made a nice play, getting to a ball behind second and putting an off-balance throw on the mark. He also had a single to lead off the fifth inning.

* DH Vladimir Guerrero went the other way for an infield single in the first inning. He also had a long fly ball to center. He was 1-for-3 on the day.

* 1B Chris Davis had a stolen base. That's a rarity. Davis has one stolen base in his major league career.

* 1B Justin Smoak got in the game after Davis left and grounded out and had a strikeout. He did make a nice grab on a low throw in the dirt.

* RHP Luis Mendoza pitched three shutout innings with two walks and a strikeout. Washington said he was pleased with Mendoza's sinker.