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.
continued Stauffer’s emergence as one of San Diego’s top starting pitchers came during last year’s pennant chase. From the beginning of September, Stauffer compiled a 3-2 record in seven starts including two key victories over eventual World Series champion San Francisco.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Stauffer. “We were in the thick of [the National League West race], and every game was fun.”
Stauffer’s final start of 2010 was his most challenging. Pitching in front of a raucous San Francisco crowd anticipating their team’s NL West championship-clinching victory, Stauffer limited the Giants to one run on three hits in 6.1 innings of work as San Diego pulled out a 4-2 victory.
“That atmosphere was as close as you can get to the playoffs,” said Stauffer. “It was a lot of fun to go out there and pitch well to get the win.”
That performance capped a 2010 season that began with Stauffer making the Padres’ opening day roster for the first time in his professional baseball career, but as a reliever instead of as a starter. Then, an appendectomy in May shelved Stauffer for more than a month.
“It was just unfortunate about the timing of [the appendectomy], but I got it fixed up and taken care of,” said Stauffer.
Once he was fully healed, Stauffer returned to the bullpen where he re-settled into his role as a middle reliever. That lasted until Sept. 6 when he got to start against the Los Angeles Dodgers in San Diego. Stauffer pitched the first four innings and allowed one run on four hits in a 4-2 Padres’ victory.
“It was a change for him,” Rick said of his son’s bullpen stint. “I think it was sort of a blessing in disguise because that was the first time he started the season with the [Padres]. Coming in from the bullpen helped him get over the mentality of dwelling over a loss because he knew he could come back in the next day. I think it really helped him to round into a major league player.”