Photo by Mark Olson

James McDonald struggled in his first two starts after the All-Star break. He allowed 10 earned runs over 9.2 innings with nine walks to just four strikeouts. McDonald's last trip to the bump at PNC Park on Tuesday against Chicago was a step forward. Although he allowed five earned runs over six frames, he saw his curve back and racked up six strikeouts. The damage came in two frames, just a few bad pitches, while his other four innings were solid.

“The ball came out a lot better than my previous two," McDonald said after that outing. "I had pretty decent command. They just hit the ball when they needed to. I went out there and gave everything I had. I had good stuff."

Manager Clint Hurdle, too, believed that McDonald took a step forward, saying, "That’s the Ja...

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