Jun 14, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the third inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Giants Seek Series Win Against Padres: Preview, Scouting Stults

Thanks to a late-inning comeback courtesy of Brandon Belt and Juan Perez on Tuesday night, the San Francisco Giants go for the series win against the San Diego Padres on Wednesday afternoon.

Madison Bumgarner will oppose Eric Stults. Bumgarner pitched seven scoreless innings in his last start against the Atlanta Braves, striking out 10 on just two hits and one walk.

Stults, meanwhile, whirled a complete game in his last start. He held the Arizona Diamondbacks to just one earned run (two total) on two hits and one walk. After posting a 5.67 ERA in April, Stults has recovered to compile a 2.26 ERA since May 2 (nine starts).

June 8, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Eric Stults (53) delivers a pitch in the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Scouting Eric Stults

Sporting a 3.28 ERA, Stults is amid one of his better seasons. His K/9 rate is up by a full strikeout, his BB/9 is down and his H/9 rate is down. In short, he’s improved.

The southpaw isn’t going to dominate with his fastball. He’s much like Barry Zito in a sense that location and mixing speeds is much more critical. Stults does have a bit more power to his fastball, but the point doesn’t change.

For Stults, the improvement from April comes down to a couple of factors. One, he’s essentially ditched his slider that’s yielded a .261 batting average in 2013. Per Brooks Baseball, he used it 17.7 percent of the time in April, whereas in June, he’s using it just 9.47 percent of the time.

To compensate, Stults is using his fastball slightly more frequently (by about five percent). However, his curveball has seen the biggest jump in usage. He went from using it about 14 percent in April to 13 percent in May, and in June, he’s using it 20 percent of the time. The increased usage of the pitch has been a wise adjustment thus far, as it’s yielding a .220 average.

Stults’ other weapon is his changeup, which has also seen an uptick in usage. In April, he was throwing it about 19 percent of the time. Now in June, he’s throwing it a 25 percent of the time, and he generally throws it to righties, while the slider sees more actions against lefties (Slider to lefties: 29 percent. Slider to righties: 11 percent).

Tags: San Diego Padres San Francisco Giants

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