Stauffer's ascension to the top of San Diego's rotation continued when he was named the opening day starter this season. He responded with a solid six-inning performance against the St. Louis Cardinals where he allowed only two runs in the Padres' 5-3 victory.
Stauffer's collection of pitches " including an effective slider " kept National League batters guessing through the next three months. By the middle of July, Stauffer had an ERA of 2.83 and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3:1.
Stauffer worked on his arsenal of pitches as early as high school, according to Saratoga Central Catholic coach Phonsey Lambert.
"He had a slider in high school, and he was developing a change-up," said Lambert. "A lot of the credit has to go to his father [Rick]. He and his father experimented a lot with his pitches."
"I was just playing around with some pitches and tried some different things [back then]," said Stauffer.
Stauffer was still in command of opposing hitters until he stepped on the mound in New York last Monday. He gave up lead-off home runs to Angel Pagan and Jason Bay in the first two innings, and then he allowed a two-run shot to David Wright as San Diego fell behind 4-1 to the Mets.
Stauffer recovered from those early missteps, though. He retired 15 of the last 17 batters he faced, and he was in line for the victory when the Padres rallied for three runs in the seventh inning and four runs in the top of the eighth to take an 8-4 lead.
"I executed a little better," said Stauffer. "The mistakes I made early on, they took advantage of."
"He really settled down and made some nice adjustments, which was good because he could have given up after those early innings," said Lambert, who attended the game with Stauffer's family and several members of Saratoga Catholic's baseball family.