When a pitcher completely loses the ability to find the strike zone, it's called Steve Blass Disease. There is no name, at least to my knowledge, for the syndrome which makes a previously outstanding pitcher terrible. Age will make everyone decline, and injuries for pitchers are a given. But to go from brilliant to awful without being too old or too hurt, that's something needing a name, and needing it quick. Hideo Nomo Syndrome? That's the only thing I can think of, but we need suggestions, and we need to name the damn thing fast. Because if Jason Schmidt isn't hurt, he's going to receive a So, You Have a Disease Named After You! card from Mr. Blass.
Premature to write that? Absolutely. It's only June, and plenty of pitchers have performance yips in the early part of the season. Schmidt should not be held to a harsher standard. There is no reason to mentally give up on Schmidt now, not after he has given us such great seasons. We can remember those seasons, and that's what makes this tougher. After teases from guys like Atlee Hammaker, Bill Swift, and Shawn Estes -- all who flashed a season or two of magic -- we finally had a veteran, 200-inning ace in Schmidt. He was, for the most part, durable. He didn't struggle with his control. He was consistent. He was going to be one of the constants on this team of riddles.
Now Schmidt is struggling, even with a pretty quick fastball and no apparent injury. It would be less stress on Giants fans if he had left an April game clutching his hamstring, with a see-you-next-year vibe relayed to the masses in the next day's paper. This enigmatic stuff is much worse. If you're hurt, you can probably heal. But what if the changeup is just, well, not as good? For whatever reason, the control of the fastball has also slipped. Schmidt doesn't even mess around with the breaking stuff anymore, and that isn't exactly the sprinkles on the confidence cupcake.
What's wrong with Schmidt? If he were anyone else, he wouldn't even be in the rotation at this point. He's freaking me out, folks. Consider this a humble request for calm, well-presented ideas to rebut my persistent urge to freak out. Moments of levity are graciously accepted in the comments section.