Jason Schmidt was one of the most dominant pitchers in the majors at this point last season.
Thus far this year, he’s one of the San Francisco Giants’ least consistent starters.
He’ll try to rebound from his latest poor outing when the struggling Giants resume a three-game interleague series with the visiting Cleveland Indians.
Last June, Schmidt was 7-2 with a 2.49 ERA and in the midst of a 16-start unbeaten streak. He would improve to 12-2 before losing in July, and finished the year 18-7 with a 3.20 ERA. Schmidt was fourth in the NL Cy Young voting behind Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson and Roy Oswalt.
With Barry Bonds out following a series of knee surgeries, the Giants were relying on their ace to carry them through the first few months of this season. Thus far, he’s been a major disappointment, managing just one win in eight starts since opening the season with two straight victories.
Schmidt’s 5.96 ERA is exactly two runs per game higher than his career mark, and ranks fourth among Giants’ starters.
“I want to see the Schmitty of my first two years here,” manager Felipe Alou said. “Every time he goes to the hill, I think I’m going to see that guy.”
The poor start has sparked rumors that Schmidt could be dealt prior to the July 31 trade deadline, and that the Giants may choose to decline his $10.5 million option for next season, settling for a $3.5 million buyout instead.
Schmidt didn’t do much to win back the organization’s faith on Sunday. He was pounded for six runs and four hits over four innings in a 12-1 loss to the New York Mets at Shea Stadium, dropping him to 0-2 with an 8.04 ERA on the road.
Schmidt has pitched well at SBC Park, going 3-0 with a 4.76 ERA in seven starts.
The right-hander has allowed 13 earned runs over 13 1-3 innings in three starts since returning from a strained shoulder.
“I do feel all right. As funny as it may sound, tonight I felt I was almost right there,” Schmidt said after the loss to the Mets. “Obviously, the location’s got to get better, but I felt I was right there.”
The Giants lost Friday’s series opener 11-2. Moises Alou homered and scored twice for San Francisco, which has lost 12 of 14 and scored only six runs in its last five losses.
Jody Gerut and Aaron Boone hit consecutive RBI triples in the second inning to lead the Indians offense. Gerut went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and Boone had two RBIs for Cleveland, which has won four of five since starting June with a four-game losing streak.