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PHOENIX -- A's starter Brandon McCarthy is one of the smartest guys in the game, but once he stopped thinking about what he "had to do" on the mound, and just did what he knows how to do, the results were off the charts.
McCarthy finished 2011 with career highs in wins (9), starts (25), complete games (5), innings pitched (170 23)and strikeouts (123). His strikeouts-to-walks ratio of 4.92 set an A's record.
We caught up with the right-hander in the dugout at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Wednesday.
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Q: Is there a difference in your preperation, knowing your role this year vs. last year trying to make the rotation?
MCCARTHY: To be honest, there is no difference whatsoever. Last year, my focus was doing everything had to do each day, and then that'd show up when I'd go out and pitch. And it's the same thing now. Where you throw in the rotation or what your situation is... I mean there's little things you're always working on, but they don't take over the bigger picture. It's just focus on what I have to do to become a better pitcher, and when I get into the game let that take care of itself.
Q: What was the difference maker for you last year that fueled your success?MCCARTHY: Most of the changes I had made the year before. I had finally become comfortable, everything was where I wanted it to be. I was just able to get into a routine where I knew what I was doing each day. There wasn't a lot of guess work. I wasn't trying to do new things. It was just literally, take what I have and throw with it. So, I was able to gain confidence as the year went a long, and settle into the pitcher that I wanted to be. As in the past I kept trying to search.