Sure, every pitcher has a bad start once in a while; but when a bad start becomes one of the worst over a decade-plus career, I think it’s fair to say that it’s worth a second look.
To be fair to Chad Gaudin, he really hasn’t had a whole lot of experience as a starting pitcher over the last few years, so to compare his latest implosion to his worst starts from years gone by might not say very much. In fact, the eight starts that he’s made for the San Francisco Giants in 2013 are his first since 2009, so you might even say that he could be cut a little bit of slack here.
But of course, as the defending World Series champs know, slack just isn’t something they can afford these days, and especially not when it comes to the starting rotation.
Besides, it’s not just the fact that the Gaudin allowed six runs on seven hits through 3.2 innings in a 19 game score start that should have them the most concerned. Getting smashed by the hard-hitting Cincinnati Reds is one thing, but to help them out with five free passes? Now that’s the sort of thing that would even get pitchers with all-world stuff in trouble — and the Giants righty is definitely not one of those.
What’s worse is that this is not the first time San Francisco has seen this from the 30-year-old either … from this month, that is.
After allowing just four walks over 21.1 innings during his first four starts this season, Gaudin has quickly fallen off the wagon, and has now walked four or more batters in two of his last three starts. Though it is worth mentioning that he is still able to dominate, as evidenced by his seven-inning, three-hit scoreless gem (in which he walked none) on July 19, that still gives him 10 walks over 22.2 innings.
If you were doing the math, that’s to say that his excellent 1.69 BB/9 rate has now spiraled to 3.97 in July.
And considering that it’s very unlikely that the righty will be striking out more than nine batters per nine innings going forward … well, let’s just say that the Giants had better hope that the walks are isolated lapses in control too, just like the six-run outing (that, by the way, represents a four-year high).
Because if the old Gaudin — you know, the one who has a 4.09 BB/9 over his career — is going to emerge, his shelf life as a starter for the Giants is going to be very limited even after his initial success.