08:13 AM ET 09.17 | The second half of the season has not been kind to James McDonald, and he paid for it over the weekend. The Pirates removed [McDonald], one of the National League's better starters in the first half of the season, from the starting rotation Sunday because of the sharp decline in his second-half production. Rookie right-hander Kyle McPherson will take McDonald's place Wednesday against the Milwaukee Brewers. "As the games count down, we've got to look to give ourselves the best shot that we can of winning the game," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. McDonald has a 7.08 ERA in the second half of the season after finishing the first half with a 2.37 ERA. He has walked more batters in 61 second-half innings than he did in 110 first-half innings.