Thursday, June 23, 2005

About Face

Well, that'll shut me up.

I haven't written a lot about Jason Schmidt's future with the club, and for good reason -- I wanted to try and avoid foot-in-mouth disease.

However, I did make some comments about not being able to depend upon Schmidt to be...well, Schmidt. One might think that he would've earned more support from Giants fans (and bloggers) than that, but I was too busy cursing the Fates and whining in consternation.

Since that time, Schmidt hasn't done any of those things. He's just gone out and fixed his problems, throwing two eight-inning gems to prove it. The one last night was vintage Schmidt, with him striking out 10 batters (the changeup was particularly nasty) and -- this is the key -- taking only 116 pitches to do it. I'm not sure what everyone else thinks, but the biggest thing I'm taking from these last two starts isn't the shutouts through eight innings, but the efficiency with which Jason did it. More on that in a bit.

One thing I hadn't really looked at during Schmidt's struggles was his k rate, which has held at least comparable to his previous years, if a tad lower (I was assuming it was significantly lower). Still striking out about one batter per inning pitched indicated most times that there is still plenty of pitcher there, but many of us bemoaned the lack of velocity as the harbinger that Schmidt was losing it.

Well, the velocity was about fully returned last night, with several 95's and 94's on the gun to back that up. Suggestions that there was something mechanically wrong with his delivery could be on the mark -- Schmidt himself has said he's made physical adjustments as well as mental.

And, furthering and qualifying the point about efficiency, is the return of Schmidt's control. His k/bb ratio has been way down, and it ain't because of the strikeouts -- it's because of all the extra walks. His lack of velocity and lack of control could both have easily been a mechanical flaw, and as both have seemingly returned, I don't think it's a bad assumption to make. Only two walks over eight innings last night, and only one walk through eight innings in his last start.

Looks like the Giants got their ace back.

On the subject of miraculous comebacks, things are in a holding pattern. I've already stated what the Giants must do to make a run, and they'll be on their way towards that if they beat Arizona today and take the series three to one. If they were to do that, they'd still face the task of realistically needing to win five of the remaining six games vs. Arizona and San Diego, plus not faltering against the A's and winning that series, but at least they have something better than a snowball's chance in Hades.

Say, rather, a snowball's chance in the tropics at night.

1 comment:

Aneel said...

Even in his struggles, Schmidt was striking out nearly 1 batter per inning (59 k's in 60.1 IP before his last 2 starts).. but like you said, the key to his turn-around has been his efficiency, and control! In his first eleven starts, Schmidt walked 5.4 batters per 9 IP (only 1.7 per 9 IP in his last 2 starts).