"The season started a little sluggish but it's going well now," McCarthy said right before his promotion. "I wasn't pitching very well but it's really started to pick up toward the end. I'm just looking to finish the last month strong."
After Miguel Pena, one of Greenville Drive's starting pitchers, sustained an injury in June, McCarthy took his place. Greenville Drive manager Carlos Febles has been impressed with McCarthy's performance.
"So far he's been good, especially lately as a starter," Febles said. "One of our other pitchers got hurt and when Pena went down, he took Pena's spot. He's doing real good and he's been consistent the whole year.
"He's a guy you can rely on, coming out of the bullpen. It's good when you get a guy you can rely on for multiple innings every three or four days."
The California native said transitioning to a starting role has been going well. He started in college while playing for the CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners, so the position is nothing new.
"The first outing was a little rough and then the last three have gone well," he said. "I'm enjoying it and any innings they'll give me, I'll take right now. It's been a pretty smooth transition. I started a lot in college and I have a lot of experience so I'm feeling pretty comfortable doing that."
Dick Such, pitching coach for Greenville Drive, has been working with McCarthy to improve his pitching throughout the season. The result is evident. Before the All-Star break, McCarthy was pitching with an earned run average of 4.91. After the break, his ERA is 2.82.
"His season is going very well," Such said. "He got off to a bit of slow start adjusting here but since he's got his feet on the ground and settled in he's pitched very well for us, especially in the starting role.
"He's been very good as a starter because that's what he did in college so I guess that's what he's accustomed to."
McCarthy owes his recent success to his training and mental approach as he has adjusted to the South Atlantic League.
"I've really focused on making sure I'm working with Such on a daily basis and evaluating each game objectively," McCarthy said. "Coming into it, there's always that sense of wondering where I'm at in the organization and I think really focusing on flushing those thoughts out since the All-Star break has helped.
"I'm just trying to play my best every day—going about my business day in, day out with a high amount of energy and integrity. That's all you can do."
McCarthy, Such, and Febles all agreed with McCarthy's best pitch is his fastball.
"I think for any pitcher it's his fastball," McCarthy said. "You work off your fast ball and ability to command the zone. You work in and out and stay down—that's huge. You can't really establish yourself with your off-speed unless you have a quality fastball."
Such said he hopes McCarthy will "just continue to throw his fastball for strikes and throw the ball down the zone and make people put the ball into play."
McCarthy has spent the season working the most on his slider.
"We've had a huge amount of success working with [my slider]," he said. "Such and I have both been really focusing on that in practice and my bullpens, making it a priority to really get this pitch better and more consistent. Just over the course of the season it's improved a lot, but especially continuing to do that in the future is huge."
Now he's working to finish the season strong as he moves up to Salem.
McCarthy said he wants to "just finish out the way I've been pitching the past few weeks, continue to throw the ball well, stay down in the zone, and give the team a chance to win.
"The most important thing is that we put a ‘W' on the board and as long as I'm going out there and doing my part to make that happen, that's all you can ask for."
Mike McCarthy, reliever-turned-starter for the Greenville Drive, has been going through a lot of transitions. He had a slow start to the 2012 season but has shown dramatic improvement in the last month. The right-handed pitcher was recently promoted to the high-A level with the Salem Red Sox.
McCarthy's Successful Transitions
Mike McCarthy has transitioned to the pro game, from the bullpen to starting, and how a new level.
Greenville Beat Writer
McCarthy has been promoted to high-A Salem
Aug 11, 2012