San Diego Padres right hander Tim Stauffer has been excellent this season. The No. 4 overall pick from the 2003 MLB Draft seems to have finally come into his own as a big league starting pitcher. That said, his most recent start is one he’d probably like to forget.
Against the Dodgers on Tuesday night Stauffer got through the first inning without incident. He allowed a walk to Matt Kemp, who didn’t advance past first base, but that was it. But Stauffer’s second inning of work was nothing short of brutal.
With the game scoreless, Andre Ethier led off the bottom of the second with a single. Then Aaron Miles walked, before A.J. Ellis struck out on a foul tip. Jamey Carroll then walked to load the bases, before pitcher Hiroki Kuroda also walked, scoring Ethier from third (1-0 Dodgers).
Justin Sellers followed that up with a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Miles and moving Carroll up to third base (2-0 Dodgers) with two outs. Then, Stauffer walked James Loney, Matt Kemp (3-0 Dodgers) and Juan Rivera (4-0 Dodgers) in succession before finally being replaced by rookie Anthony Bass. Ethier then greeted Bass by smacking his first pitch into the right field bleachers for a grand slam (8-0 Dodgers).
Bass then gave up a single to Miles, and a walk to Ellis before he finally stuck out Carroll to end the disastrous inning.
So, that was fun, yeah?
Stauffer surrendered a franchise record six walks in the inning, three of which occurred with the bases loaded. Those six walks were the most in one inning since Baltimore’s Daniel Cabrera walked six in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox on April 7, 2006. They were also the most walks by a Padres pitcher since Juan Eichelberger walked five in the second inning of a game against the St. Louis Cardinals on August 29, 1981.
If Stephen King wrote horror stories about baseball, Stauffer’s line from Tuesday night would be in there. In 1.2 innings, he allowed seven runs (all earned), on one hit and seven walks, while striking out two. Your read that right, seven earned runs on one measly hit.
He threw 61 pitches and only 25 went for strikes. Ouch.
Though the Padres ended up making a game of it by rallying, they lost the game 8-5, dropping Stauffer’s record to 8-11, and his ERA rose to 3.76.
After what has largely been a great year for Stauffer, the past few starts have been rocky. He may be tiring, as he has now pitched more than double the innings he has at any point in his major league career.