Plum grad McGough grateful to be pitching for Triple-A Isotopes
Scott McGough found himself in a starting role for the fifth time in his professional career July 14 as the Albuquerque Isotopes, the Triple-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, visited Las Vegas in a Pacific Coast League game.
With his parents on hand to watch him perform, the right-handed Plum graduate threw 57 pitches -- 34 for strikes -- over three innings.
He surrendered five hits and two walks and no earned runs while striking out two. Las Vegas ended up with a 2-1 victory.
“You have to be ready to go in any situation,” said McGough, who came out of the bullpen for the start when regular starter Sam Howard was called up to pitch for the Rockies.
“I knew I was going to have a 50 to 60 pitch count. I just wanted to give them as much as I could for three or four innings.”
McGough, 28, said he is grateful to continue to give to a sport that has given him so much from his time at Plum to his collegiate days at Oregon and now in the professional ranks.
“I take nothing for granted,” he said. “It can be taken away so quickly.”
McGough owned a 6-3 record in 31 total appearances through last Thursday’s games. He had 60 strikeouts and just 16 walks in 521⁄3 innings of work. The six victories was a team best.
“It’s about being put in a situation where you need to perform well, throw strikes and get outs in close situations,” McGough said.
“The team really has had my back and scored some runs when I was in there. I just want to go in there and do my job every time, no matter the situation.”
McGough noted some inconsistencies in his pitching at times this season. He is working to bring down a 6.54 ERA. But he feels he has hit his stride over the past several weeks.
“I just have to keep it rolling,” he said.
McGough signed a free agent contract with the Rockies in November after a 2017 campaign with Class AA Bowie and AAA Norfolk in the Baltimore Orioles organization.
“I was just happy the Rockies came calling,” McGough said. “I had gotten a couple calls in free agency. It was exciting to kind of have a choice between a couple of teams. Colorado is a great organization.”
McGough was selected in the fifth round of the 2011 MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers and stayed with the organization until a trade sent him to the Miami Marlins in July 2012.
He pitched with the Marlins affiliates in New Orleans (AAA) and Jacksonville (AA) in 2013 and was hoping for good things at the start of the 2014 season.
But he got the news that he needed Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, and his 2014 campaign was lost.
Rehab followed the surgery, and he returned to game action in June 2015. Two months later, he got called up to the Marlins and appeared in six games.
The 2016 season was split between the minor league camps of the Marlins and the Orioles.
McGough said his elbow continues to feel great three years since his return.
“I’ve been throwing really hard this year,” he said. “My consistent velocity has been up. It’s been stronger and better than ever.”
McGough said he never has wavered in his confidence in his physical health.
“You have to trust your training in season and in the offseason,” he said. “The trouble you get into with surgery like that and what comes after getting back is thinking too much about it when you pitch. That can lead to being tentative and not giving your best. I know my elbow is secure and strong. I’ve proven that over the past couple of seasons.”
McGough said getting called up to the Rockies before the end of the season always is in the back of his mind, but he is making sure that doesn’t take away from the tasks right in front of him.
“I am just trying to focus on being the best I can be with the Isotopes every day,” he said.
“Hopefully, I can take care of business, and the right people will see something they like to give me a shot to help the big league club. If not, it’s not the end of the world. Whatever happens, I just want to keep having fun and pitch as well as I can.”