On Monday, the Seattle Mariners and their feeble bats made opposing SP Dallas Keuchel look like a seasoned veteran. He went six innings, allowed only six hits, two earned runs and struck out eight to pick up the win. The next night, it was Houston Astros‘ Collin McHugh who got the chance to embarrass the Mariners. Yes, that’s right folks, Collin McHugh. The obvious piece of dry humor here is, Collin McWho?
McHugh is an 18th-round draft pick out of Berry College by the New York Mets in 2008. His career ERA in 15 MLB contests spread across parts of the 2012-13 seasons was 8.94. That number went down a bit after his start in Seattle.
For the most part, McHugh has dabbled in the minors since 2008, where he has a pedestrian 3.36 ERA, averaging 8.7 K/9. By all accounts, the Astros called him up because they needed someone to make spot start and join the rotation while Scott Feldman is on the DL. McHugh’s fastball has never measured better than 92.9 mph on the radar gun in a big league park. He has an average slider and cutter he uses as a strikeout pitch.
On Tuesday night at Safeco Field, McHugh used 12 pitches for strikeouts.
It’s clear that manager Bo Porter had McHugh on a pitch count, because it took him only 89 pitches to work through 6.2 innings, and it was apparent he could have worked deeper. In the outing, McHugh allowed only two hits, zero earned runs and zero walks before he was pulled.
Maybe McHugh will turn into one of those obscure success stories that comes from nowhere in 2014. More likely though, his performance was an aberration, and the product of a poor-hitting Mariners team currently in a deplorable funk. After dropping Tuesday night’s game 5-2, the Mariners are in jeopardy of being swept by the Astros on Wednesday evening and extending their losing streak to nine games.
McHugh had a special night, though if he were facing a respectable lineup, it’s doubtful success would have found him so easily. At this point, it almost does not matter who the opposition’s starting pitcher is. So long as he has two arms, two legs and doesn’t wear Northwest Green on his uniform, there’s a good chance he can be productive at getting outs against the Mariners lineup.