McFarland re-signed with the Cardinals on a one-year deal Monday. McFarland was a useful left-handed option out of the bullpen for the Cardinals last season. His excellent 63.7 percent groundball rate helped him to a 2.56 ERA despite a very low 14.6 percent strikeout rate. That lack of whiffs means he's ill-suited for a ninth-inning role, however, as evidenced by his one career save in nine MLB seasons, so he's unlikely to have much fantasy value in most formats.
McFarland posted a 1-0 record and five holds over the nine innings covering his last 10 regular-season appearances. The veteran also blew a save opportunity and posted a 5.00 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in that span, hinting at occasional trouble. However, McFarland was still mostly impressive throughout that stretch, giving up more than one earned run just once and tossing six scoreless outings as well. The left-hander enjoyed a fantasy-friendly campaign overall that included a 4-1 record, 2.56 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 15 holds across 38.2 innings over 38 appearances.
McFarland secured his ninth hold in a win over the Mets on Monday, allowing one hit over a scoreless seventh inning. McFarland saw action for the fourth time in the last five days, an especially busy stretch during which he's generated three scoreless appearances and three holds overall. The veteran left-hander has boosted his fantasy stock nicely down the stretch, and he's now worked his ERA down to 1.95 following Monday's outing.
McFarland (3-1) allowed two earned runs on two hits over one inning to take the loss against the Reds on Friday. Just 24 hours after extending his scoreless streak to 18 appearances while garnering his seventh hold in a win over the Dodgers, McFarland saw his run come to an end and took his first loss of the season in the process. The left-hander was only able to retire one of the first four batters he faced in the ninth inning, failing to preserve a 2-2 tie and allowing the game's final two runs. Despite the stumble, McFarland should continue to see his fair share of hold opportunities over the balance of the regular season.
McFarland recorded his sixth hold in a loss to the Brewers on Sunday, firing a scoreless two-thirds of an inning. McFarland needed exactly two pitches to record both his outs and close out the sixth inning. The veteran southpaw continues on an extended roll that's seen him coax his ERA and WHIP down to 1.52 and 0.93, respectively, while posting 17 consecutive scoreless appearances.