When the Giants signed the 38-year old pitcher in the offseason to stabilize their rotation, games like last night’s are exactly what they had in mind.
In his first game back since a brutal ankle injury back in July of 2014 with the Atlanta Braves, Tim Hudson threw a gem Wednesday night in Arizona. He worked 7.2 innings while giving up only 3 hits and striking out 7 without walking a single batter. It was a much needed change as the Giants’ previous starters, Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain, lasted only 4.0 and 5.0 innings respectively in their debuts. This forced the Giants bullpen to throw a whopping 137 pitched in just 9 innings of work in the first two games. That all changed with Hudson tonight.
Hudson was very efficient, as 74 of his 103 pitches were strikes. He didn’t even allow a baserunner to reach third base, and that was despite Paul Goldschmidt, who continued his 24-game hitting streak, to reach 2nd on a leadoff double in the 7th. He was able to get out of trouble by forcing Martin Prado and Miguel Montero to each fly out, and then striking out Mark Trumbo.
If the Giants rotation can consistently pitch into the 6th or 7th innings, the men in Black and Orange are going to have a very successful season. The back-end of the bullpen is nasty, and it showed tonight. Javier Lopez retired the one batter he faced in the 8th, and Sergio Romo closed the door with a perfect 9th, including a called strike out on Goldschmidt.
The way Hudson was pitching, the Giants only needed one or two runs to win the game, and they got them from Angel Pagan, who drove in Ehire Adrianza making his first start of the season, and Michael Morse, who picked up his first RBI of the season. Morse had struggled with runners in scoring position in the first two games, and was understandably excited when he drove in Hunter Pence. He was seen fist pumping and causing general havoc in the Giants clubhouse when he was lifted for a pinch runner.
The Giants play a matinee game today, with the first pitch at 12:40PM. Tim Lincecum and Bronson Arroyo will both be making their season debuts.
Notes: Tim Hudson passed C.C. Sabathia for most wins among active pitchers with 206…Hudson owns the Arizona Diamondbacks, as he now has an 8-1 record with a 1.99 ERA in 12 starts against them in his career…Adrianza made his first start of 2014 tonight at 2B…Morse has played 16 innings without a single fly-ball hit his way…