Jason Schmidt either began the re-construction of his and the Giants season, or increased his trade value by about 300%. Either way, the Giants won their third straight, (no small feat, only the fourth time all season they’ve won that many in a row), behind Schmidt’s strong 8 1/3 innings (7 hits, 5 strikeouts), defeating the Tigers 4-0.
Tyler Walker continued his strange season, striking out the side with the bases loaded in the ninth to earn his 10th save, suddenly good for 12th in the NL.
Walker looked ferocious yesterday, to strike out the side with the bases loaded in a 4-0 game doesn’t happen too often, (especially in Giants-ville). I’ve written about Walker’s success as the closer, noting that even though he’s allowed a lot of hits runs and his ERA is pretty huge, he hasn’t been all that bad. When he’s had a save opportunity, he’s done very well, earning a save in 10 of 11 chances, and while he’s given up 14 earned runs in 28 innings, a closer look tells us that 10 of his earned runs occured in just three appearances. If you adjust for those three terrible outings, in 26 appearances, he’s allowed 21 hits and 4 earned runs over 25 innings, good for a terrific 0.69 ERA.
You could argue that his bad is part of the picture, so he should get no slack, but relievers often have their entire season’s ERA impacted by one or two bad outings. Regardless of how you feel about his lack of strikeouts, or big ERA, he’s had something like 20 great outings, 5 OK outings, and 4 bad to terrible outings. In a season of some of the worst pitching I’ve ever witnessed, that ain’t too shabby.
Meanwhile, for a team desperate for reliable relievers, LaTroy Hawkins’ being put on the 15-day DL is but one more in a series of seemingly endless setbacks for the pitching staff. Hawkins had struggled in Chicago, but had been a tremendously durable and reliable setup man for most of the last three or four seasons. Of course, the minute he got to SF, he gave up about four hundred runs, but still, one could reasonably expect him to help stabilize the 8th inning. Now, he’s got a numb arm and the Giants are back to scrambling. Unbelievable.