As if he hasn’t been good enough this season, Oakland’s Tim Hudson has decided to step things up a bit—literally.
Hudson will look to build on his best outing of the season and continue employing a new quirk to his delivery when the red-hot Athletics open a three-game series with the slumping Pittsburgh Pirates at Network Associates Coliseum.
Hudson, who has emerged as the most effective of Oakland’s “Big Three” starters this season, has won three of his last four decisions, including Saturday’s 4-0 victory over Toronto. The right-hander spun an eight-hitter, striking out five and walking one, for his seventh career shutout and second complete game of the season.
Hudson also incorporated a new toe tap to his delivery Saturday to help with his balance.
“It’s the first time I’ve done it in a game,” he said. “It’s a drill we all do and I felt pretty good in the bullpen with it. I have a bad habit of blowing right through my balance point.”
Hudson has been nearly unhittable in Oakland this season, going 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA in five starts, including Saturday’s shutout. The victory also improved Hudson’s career mark in Oakland to 43-13 and gave him an incredible 69-2 all-time record when receiving at least four runs of support.
The A’s have won eight of their first nine games in June, including the last five straight. On Wednesday, Oakland completed a three-game sweep of Cincinnati with a 17-8 victory—its third straight double-digit scoring effort.
Oakland also improved to 15-0 all-time against the NL Central.
After two straight rainouts, the Pirates suffered a doubleheader sweep in Texas on Thursday. Pittsburgh committed two seventh-inning errors in dropping the opener 9-7, and was held in check by Kenny Rogers in a 10-4 defeat in the nightcap.
The Pirates have lost nine of 10 and are 1-5 on a nine-game road trip.