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Making his mark

Tim Stauffer jumps into lead pitcher role in San Diego

Saratoga Central Catholic graduate Tim Stauffer pitches during a San Diego Padres’ home game against Arizona earlier this season. Stauffer owns a 7-9 record in his first full season as a starting pitcher, but his earned run average had been as low as 2.83 before a bad start Aug. 13 against Cincinnati raised it to over 3.50.

Saratoga Central Catholic graduate Tim Stauffer pitches during a San Diego Padres’ home game against Arizona earlier this season. Stauffer owns a 7-9 record in his first full season as a starting pitcher, but his earned run average had been as low as 2.83 before a bad start Aug. 13 against Cincinnati raised it to over 3.50. Scott Wachter

— Saturday, Aug. 13, was not a good day for Tim Stauffer.

The San Diego Padres pitcher gave up five home runs in three innings of work in a 13-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.

In previous years, that performance might have earned the Saratoga Central Catholic graduate a ticket to Triple A. But this year, it’s only an aberration.

Stauffer has turned out to be one of San Diego’s top pitchers this season. Entering Saturday’s game, Stauffer had a 7-8 record with a 3.06 earned run average. He went through a two-month stretch where his ERA was 1.97 – one of the best in the National League over that time span. At one point this season, he was tied with Cliff Lee for the seventh-best ERA in the league.

“I think it’s being more aggressive in getting strikes this season,” Stauffer said in a phone interview last Friday, one day before his start in Cincinnati.

Stauffer’s record might have been better entering Saturday’s game had his team given him better support. Stauffer had nine no decisions in his previous 24 starts, including two games where he left with the game scoreless after seven innings. His most recent no decision came last Monday in New York when the Padres blew a four-run lead in the last two innings in a 9-8 loss. It was Stauffer’s first start in New York City.

Stauffer’s father, Rick, said that the win-loss record isn’t as big of a concern to his son as all of his other statistics.

“I’m sure he’d like five or six of those losses or no decisions be wins, but I think some of those other stats [ERA, opponents’ batting average, walks and hits per nine innings pitched] are more important to him,” said Rick.

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