by Max - 06/23/2005
Over the past three seasons, Jason Schmidt has been one of the two best pitchers in the National League. During this time, he has 55 victories against only 23 losses. His E.R.A. has been around the 3.00 mark and he has struck out more batters than innings pitched. This year appeared to be no exception. However, the first three months have certainly been a roller-coaster ride for him and for gamblers. The following will detail his amazing journey.
Let me preface this article by stating that Jason Schmidt is one of my favorite pitchers in the league. I have always felt confident when my money is on him. He is a true power pitcher that has the ability to get out of jams by recording a key strikeout. I like pitchers that battle on the mound and show emotion when plays are made behind them. He started the season off in dominating fashion, winning his first two starts and allowing only two earned runs in 13 innings pitched.
But then the wheels started to fall off and in his next five starts he gave up at least three runs in each of them topped off with six earned on his May 7 start. Something was not right with Jason Schmidt and the Giants decided to put him on the disabled list for 15 days. The reason given was a right shoulder strain and rest appeared to best way for him to regain his strength. After 17 days of rest, Schmidt returned back to the mound hoping to get the Giants out of the tailspin that they were in. He may have felt obligated to return earlier then expected since he knows the Giants really depend on him for a quality start every five days.
Schmidt's first outing was solid as he went five innings and allowed only three runs in recording his third victory of the season. However, his next three were less then desirable as he allowed 16 earned runs and took the loss in two of those starts. This is when all the experts started to pile on Jason Schmidt, saying that he had lost everything including his command and velocity. They said the only way he could be successful was to change his pitching style from power to finesse.
The critics also laughed at the current lines being offered by Vegas and offshore. They said that Schmidt did not warrant a $2 favorite at home and talk about how they were cleaning up on him by taking the dogs. Finally, Vegas started to take notice and on June 17, Jason Schmidt entered an interleague game as a $1.25 underdog. My eyes immediately lit up when I saw this pondering if he had really fallen this far to warrant such as insult. This was a mediocre Tiger team that was playing this game without their best hitter in shortstop Carlos Guillen.
I could not go against Schmidt and decided to lay a dime on this game at a nice underdog price. Schmidt did not disappoint as he threw eight shutout innings before being pulled with bases loaded in the ninth inning. The bullpen cleaned up the game giving Jason Schmidt his fourth victory on the season via a 4-0 shutout. The books cleaned up on this game, as I was one of the few who sided with the experienced veteran. Some experts may have considered this a fluke, but Schmidt proved them wrong by throwing an eight shutout innings in his follow-up start. This should keep all of the skeptics quiet as Jason Schmidt has reestablished himself as the ace of the Giants and one of the best in the National League. When a gambler decided to go against him in the future, only one thing is certain, that is truly a gamble.
Expect to see more $2 home favorites out of Schmidt in the future as he has found his form from years past. Sometimes all it takes is patience when a superstar is struggling. Thankfully, that is what the Giants showed with him as he is now back and better then ever.