I remember where I was the first time I heard of Tim Hudson. I remember the house, the direction the TV was facing, the hue of the ballpark in the highlights. It was a KRON highlight package for this game, in which Hudson dominated in a 2-0 win against the Diamondbacks. The news talked him up, and I thought, "Dang, I should keep an eye on this rookie."
Do you know how I was able to find the exact game? Because I was waiting to leave for a Dave Matthews concert when I saw the highlights. So I cross-referenced the Shoreline show with Hudson's rookie year. I was waiting for a Dave Matthews concert because that's what normal 21-year-olds actually did when Tim Hudson was a rookie. That's how long ago it was. I went to that concert on purpose. Times were different.
Since then, Hudson has been a sinker-chucking badass. He's had peaks and valleys, torn ligaments and shattered ankles, but he's always been on the list of pitchers who just did their thing. There haven't been a lot of "What's up with Hudson?" articles over the years. If his body is willing, his contributions have been steady. Hudson hasn't exactly been fun to watch, considering he was usually the enemy, but he's been easy to appreciate.
Finally, then, Tim Hudson is ours. We're one game down, hopefully 31 to go with him this year, so it's easy to read too much into this start (0.00 ERA! 200 strikeouts! 30 wins!). But it was a pleasure to watch him do that on behalf of our team for once.
I'm no scout, nor am I especially knowledgeable about baseball. Frankly, the whole thing goes right over my head. I don't remember, though, waiting so long to recognize a pitch as I did with Hudson. As in, I couldn't tell if it was a sinker, change, or slider until it was almost in Posey's mitt. It was a treat. The command was impeccable. The breaking stuff was dazzling. And the sinker, of course, sank.
Seven innings, three hits, no walks, six strikeouts. Don't get used to it. But snuggle up to it right now. That was fun.
An aside: Do you know how many zero-walk, zero-run, seven-inning starts Barry Zito had in his seven seasons with the Giants? The answer is at the bottom of the post. Wait, that's not worth a scroll-down reveal. The answer is two. Two. The last one was the Coors Field celestial omen of 2012.
Let's talk about Angel Pagan's defense. In 2012, it was fine. He can take some bad breaks, sure, but if I made a list of the top 40 things I was worried about in the playoffs, Pagan's defense in center might not have cracked the list.
Last year, though, there were Marvin Benard comparisons. Justified Marvin Benard comparisons. The center field two-step was a thing. One step in, two steps of oh-no going out. There were dives that didn't need to be doven. There were throws to weird cutoff men. It was a mess, at least compared to what we were used to in the post-Dave Roberts era.
Then Pagan came back from his hamstring injury, and he was fine. No worries. Just a guy playing center.
On Wednesday night, Pagan made a pair of exemplary plays, with the first one saving a run and possibly the game. Hudson yelled expletives and ran to back up home after Martin Prado lined a ball to center, but Pagan got an absolutely stellar read on the ball, and he made a diving catch. Prime Andruw couldn't have done it better.
After the catch, Pagan did this.
(via valued Internet aficionado DiaDeLosSlapsy)
My wife, ostensibly paying attention to anything other than baseball, looked up and mumbled, "Man, Pagan has great hair."
He is still the guy in the pool at Club Med, waiting for you to take a nap alone in your room. And his defense was outstanding. We're talking about Tim Hudson, sure, but we might be talking about him a little less if not for Pagan.
He had an RBI, too! And a stolen base! Not that I care about such things, no. Such matters would be the concern of a gambler or fantasy player, which I am most certainly not.
The Giants are on pace for 108 wins, everyone. Slash open the coconut and drink its innards while you still have the machete. It's a long season.