Nobody seems to mention Tim Hudson when it comes to conversation about potential Hall of Fame notoriety, but the San Francisco Giants‘ veteran right-handed pitcher is an irreplaceable asset on the mound who deserves to be in the discussion. The Giants’ early season dominance in MLB action is a product of clutch two-out hitting and stingy pitching efforts. On Sunday, Hudson was fantastic in fueling San Francisco to a series win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Giants’ third starter isn’t simply the active wins leader (211) among all starting pitchers. He’s also a class act. The cross-division rivalry between the Cardinals and Giants is one of the best in baseball, but that didn’t prevent Hudson, a 16-year veteran, from apologizing to Allen Craig after airmailing an 89 mph fastball that drilled the first baseman behind his left ear. In a series that Giants’ broadcaster Mike Krukow dubbed “blood baseball”, Hudson showed candid sportsmanship.
At some point, the Cardinals will assuredly retaliate. It doesn’t matter that Hudson’s mistake was an accident. On a day where the Giants did just about everything right, it was also Hudson’s only mistake. The 38-year-old hummed through the Cardinals’ lineup all afternoon, despite struggling with his command at times. He threw seven innings of shutout baseball, an outing masked by the Giants’ performance at the plate. San Francisco jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning and coasted to another convincing win over a team they could potentially play in the MLB playoffs.
Hudson yielded just five base runners while striking out six on the day. While his performance didn’t exactly mirror what Chris Sale and Kyle Lohse were able to accomplish on the first day of June, it was another stellar outing from a pitcher many teams strayed away from in free agency because of a season-ending ankle injury that he suffered last season. Before taking the mound on a humid day on St. Louis, some wondered if Hudson could hold up in an ultra-warm climate.
Hudson isn’t a strikeout machine; rather, he pitches to his defense by utilizing an excellent sinker. Shortstop Brandon Crawford made a pair of web gem worthy snags, showcasing his range in the process, to help prevent the Cardinals from mounting an irrelevant rally in the sixth inning.
Hudson owns a microscopic 1.75 ERA on the season. He’s logged more starts (11) than walks (8). He improved to 6-2 on the season and extended his scoreless innings streak to 15.0 after shutting down the Cardinals on Sunday. As a team, the Giants improved to 37-20, outscoring St. Louis 23-11 in four games over the weekend.
Over the course of his career, Hudson has pitched nearly 2,900 innings. He’s won at least 11 games in 13 of 15 complete seasons. At his current rate of production, it wouldn’t be farfetched for him to contend for the Cy Young Award in the NL. He’s been that good. When the book is officially shut on Hudson, whether it be at the conclusion of his two-year deal with the Giants in 2015 or beyond, he’ll be a legitimate candidate for the Hall of Fame.