Tuesday night in San Diego St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright and Padres righty Jon Garland engaged in a good, old-fashioned pitchers duel. And Garland won. Wainwright, who many experts love for the Cy Young in 2010, made one big mistake and it was blasted for a solo home run by Jerry Hairston Jr. And that was it for either pitcher in a 1-0 win for the San Diego Padres.
Wainwright was nearly flawless, striking out 12, walking one and giving up just four hits over 7.0 innings. Garland’s line was impressive as well: 7.0 innings, six hits, no runs, two walks and seven strikeouts. The thing is, while his line wasn’t as pretty, Garland might have been even more impressive because he won without his best stuff.
Since two rocky outings to open the season (both ended in losses), Garland has won six straight decisions while not allowing more than four runs. He’s currently 6-2 with a 2.10 ERA. Those six wins rank third in baseball, and the 2.10 ERA is sixth best league-wide.
All of this from a guy that Padres GM Jed Hoyer found on the scrap heap in late January.
So why was Garland available? Despite being in his 11th season, he’s only 30-years-old. He’s an innings-eater with a World Series ring and a career 4.34 ERA. He’s also gone over 190 innings in a season eight times.
Garland is making $5.3 million this season and somehow the Padres were able to grab him while everyone else was asleep. The 6’6 righty has a filthy, low 90s sinker that often helps him get out of trouble and he’s only given up three home runs in 60.0 innings so far this season.
But Garland is on a ridiculous roll right now for the Padres. In his past eight starts he has given up just eight earned runs against the Cardinals, Dodgers (twice), Astros, Brewers, Marlins, Giants and Diamondbacks. Those are pretty good offenses and – for the most part – Garland has breezed through them.
In May, he has started five times, and is 4-0 with a 1.69 ERA, 26 hits, 14 walks and 18 strikeouts in 32.0 innings.
Simply put: Jon Garland is dealing right now and very few pitchers are getting it done any better. He’s a huge reason the San Diego Padres (yes, those San Diego Padres) have the second-best record in baseball at 27-18.