Joe and Jake McCarthy found themselves at the same level, but on opposite sides in professional baseball this week when Jake’s promotion to Triple-A occurred just days before their teams were scheduled to meet.
The McCarthy brothers, both former multi-sport standouts at Scranton High before college baseball careers at the University of Virginia, played the first of a six-game series against each other Thursday night when the Sacramento River Cats shut out the visiting Reno Aces, 8-0, in a Triple-A West game.
Older brother Joe, 27, was on the winning side, but it was Jake, 23, who had the better night at the plate and gets to play for a first-place team.
Joe is trying to work his way back to the Major Leagues after making it to the San Francisco Giants for four games at the start of the shortened 2020 season.
Jake, a third-year pro, is playing above Class A for the first time this season and earned a promotion from Double-A to Triple-A earlier in the week after leading the Double-A Central in stolen bases, going 17-for-18, and ranking tied for second in triples with four.
Reno is the top farm team of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the team that drafted Jake with the 39th overall pick in 2018.
The Aces, who are 28-15 to lead the West Division, had won seven straight series openers before running into difficulties Thursday night in Sacramento.
Jake, who has also played one of his first three Triple-A games at first base, played center field and batted fifth. He was 1-for-4 with a single for one of Reno’s six hits.
Joe started at first base and moved to left field. He batted seventh for the River Cats and was 0-for-4.
Jake earned his promotion from Amarillo by hitting six home runs and driving in 23 runs while scoring 25 and batting .241 in 35 games at Double-A. He had eight doubles, drew 17 walks and struck out 46 times. He was tied for 13th in the league in runs scored and tied for 20th in home runs.
Through three games with Reno, Jake is 2-for-11 (.182). In 149 career Minor League games, he is batting .270 with 11 home runs and 76 RBI while going 58-for-69 stealing bases.
Joe, a fifth-round pick by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft, is in his seventh professional season, including the abbreviated four-game season a year ago in which he went 0-for-10 and struck out five times.
Prior to Thursday’s hitless game, Joe was batting over .300 for the season. He is tied for 15th in the Triple-A West with eight homers and ranks in the top 25 in the 10-team league in batting average, on-base percentage, OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) and doubles.
On the season, Joe is batting .298 with 9 doubles, 8 homers, 26 runs, 26 RBI and 17 walks while striking out 29 times in 34 games. He is 3-for-3 stealing bases.
In 434 career Minor League games, Joe is batting .264 with 38 homers and 217 RBI. He is 65-for-79 on stolen-base attempts.
Sacramento is tied for the bottom spot in the five-team West Division at 18-24.
The series continues with one game each Friday through Tuesday.