The San Francisco Giants got what they needed most on Wednesday night: a dominant starting pitching performance. After giving up 13 runs over the first two games of the season, the Giants’ pitching staff resembled everything that went wrong in a tremendously disappointing World Series defense last season. Enter: Tim Hudson.
The 38-year-old hurler was terrific for the Giants, tossing 7.2 shutout innings with seven strikeouts while allowing just three hits. It was exactly the type of performance San Francisco’s pitching staff needed, considering the bullpen had been forced to chew up nine innings of relief in the first two games of the season. Hudson was highly efficient, recording 18 first-pitch strikes on 27 batters faced. He effectively mixed his pitches, primarily using his cutter to force hitters into easy ground ball outs.
That said, Hudson also received some much-needed help from his defense. Center fielder Angel Pagan showcased why he’s so valuable to the Giants’ ability to both score runs and defend, making a head-first diving grab to take away a run-scoring hit from Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Martin Prado in the bottom of the fourth inning. At the time, the game was scoreless. Pagan then drove in the Giants’ first run of the game in a clutch two-out situation in the top of the fifth which proved to be enough offense for Hudson.
San Francisco’s pitching staff registered an inefficient 4.00 ERA in 2013, ranking 22nd in the league. That figure was alarming, especially considering a near identical pitching staff recorded a collective 3.68 ERA during the 2012 campaign en route to a championship, ranking fifth in the National League. Hudson is bound to for another signature season. He officially owns the highest win total of all active pitchers (206), which not only makes him the Giants’ most accomplished pitcher in many ways, but also their most reliable.
Hudson owns a 3.44 ERA over 16 seasons at the big league level. He’s posted double-digit win totals in 13 of 15 full seasons, a feat that he’ll assuredly accomplish yet again in 2014, ideally fueling the Giants’ pitching staff toward preordained territory. Hudson reset the standard for starting pitching for the Giants in his orange and black debut. Now it’s up to the rest of the starting staff to mirror that type of production over the entirety of the season.