Giants pitcher Tim Hudson has made a career out of having great control. The right-hander had walked only 7.2 percent of the 11,803 batters he faced in his 16-year career entering Friday’s start against the Indians. So, it wasn’t surprising that he was also carrying a lengthy walkless streak to open the 2014 season.
In four starts spanning 30 innings, Hudson hadn’t walked a batter. Hudson opened the first inning against the Indians with two quick outs, but then allowed a single to Jason Kipnis and issued a walk to Carlos Santana. The streak ended at 30 2/3 innings and 115 batters faced. As CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly noted, that’s the longest streak, in terms of batters faced, to start a season since 1944.
Hudson improved to 3-1 with the effort, allowing one run on four hits and two walks while striking out five over seven innings of work. The 38-year-old right-hander joined the Giants in the off-season on a two-year, $23 million contract and has been exactly what they paid for. Over five starts, Hudson has a 2.19 ERA with a 12.5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.