A week and a half ago, John Danks shut down the Cleveland Indians' offense in a very important start. This time, Gavin Floyd did the same to the Detroit Tigers.
Nearly pitching a no-hitter almost a year after fellow starter Mark Buehrle pitched a no-no against the Texas Rangers, Floyd went from a giant question mark to 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA. It's early in the season, but the fact that Floyd is off to such a good start is very promising.
The issue with Floyd has never been his stuff. The Phillies were high on him even with his initial struggles in the organization. It's been a matter of confidence.
Much like the acquired Carlos Quentin, no one has ever questioned Floyd's talent. He has never played with any real faith in his skills.
In watching Floyd during his short stint starting for the Sox last year, his presence (despite his 6'5," 230 pound frame) was microscopic. He somehow willed his pitches to go over the plate, resulting in teams hitting .354 against him. Still, he had a reasonably good K/BB ratio of 49:19.
This time around, Floyd has looked every bit his size. He has been much more aggressive against opposing batters since early in spring training.
Floyd has made sure to stay ahead of most hitters. While he has walked as many as he's struck out so far, he appears to have much better control of his pitches and a genuine sense of his capabilities.
Floyd's progression is key in a White Sox rotation that becomes increasingly uncertain towards the back end. While Jose Contreras has been consistently average, giving the team the ultimate "bend but don't break" experience, it's been nice to see that both Danks and Floyd have had good starts under their belts.
If Floyd can continue pitching well and average at least six innings per game, he will certainly reduce the stress on both the White Sox bullpen and the other starters.
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