Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Gavin Floyd never lost faith he would again be an effective pitcher while hitters tagged his deliveries every which way for nearly a month’s time.
From May 16 to June 14, there weren’t many starters who were battered as much as Floyd was. He allowed four or more runs in six consecutive starts and gave up a total of 49 hits and 35 runs in 30 2/3 innings. His ERA rose from 2.53 to 5.63 during that span.
Floyd isn’t one to say, “I told you so,” but he could if he wanted to now. On Tuesday, Floyd followed up a shutout performance against the Chicago Cubs with a shutout against the Minnesota Twins, a team had owned him throughout his career. He’s now thrown 13 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings and won his last two starts. It appears he’s back.
Floyd explained after Tuesday’s win his faith in himself originated from somewhere else.
“I feel that when things were going not my way I felt I didn’t dwell on it,” said Floyd, who had lost his last eight starts against the Twins. “I felt God kind of gave me everything I needed to get through those times, keep perspective and believe in what He gave me. I felt like I had a pretty good situation no matter what. I felt I had a good short-term memory and try to go after them and go win.”
In Floyd’s last two starts, his command has drastically improved. He’s locating his fastball, changeup, curveball and slider, and he hasn’t been afraid to turn to any pitch at any given time. Nearly half of his strikeouts Tuesday came on curveballs, and he didn’t walk a single hitter.
“Curve, slider, fastball, I felt like I had pretty good command of both sides of the plate with pretty much everything,” Floyd said.
One of Floyd’s most impressive innings Tuesday came in the first. He allowed Denard Span a leadoff double and bounced back with three consecutive outs, including a three-pitch strikeout of Joe Mauer. Mauer came into the game with hits in his last eight at-bats against Floyd.
“He showed he’s got command, getting out of situations, especially that first,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Guy on third with one out and gets to do that and get some confidence to get through some tougher innings.”
Despite Floyd’s improvements, he isn’t allowing himself any additional confidence. He knows one strong start doesn’t guarantee anything for the next one.
“I just try to [approach] one game at a time,” Floyd said. “You can’t look at the big picture like that. You try to keep things simple. You’re going to have runs. You’re going to have valleys, but you got to keep going and just try to keep the team in the game.”