With a 5.76 ERA in his first 15 starts of the season there were reported rumors of removing Eric Stults, at least for a few starts, from the starting rotation. But now, with some of his best performances in two years, Stults is trying to distance himself from that possibility.
Entering his start Wednesday in Colorado Stults has allowed 4 runs in his last three starts. In his prior three starts, his earned run total stood at 14. The marked improvement was capped with seven scoreless frames against San Francisco last Friday and his third win of the year. As MLB.com’s Will Laws reported, that is the best start for Stults since he went seven scoreless in August of 2012. His efforts over his last three games have also pulled his ERA back under 5.00, down to 4.96 from a high of 5.79 back on June 12th.
“I’ve been in this game long enough to know you’re going to hit stretches where you’re not going to pitch well,” Stults told Laws. “You don’t dwell on the bad ones. You move forward.”
While June was a month full of “the bad ones” for Stults, even as late as May he had some positive starts. Three of his five starts in may featured at least six innings pitched with no more than three earned runs. In two of those three he allowed fewer than three earned runs. June was as bad as advertised when Stults went through six innings in just two of six starts with four or more runs allowed in four of the six starts.
In the same article quoted above, Bud Black mentions conversations with pitching coach Darren Balsley about putting Stults on the bullpen shelf. There is no mention of a conversation with Stults himself, but clearly the 34-year-old’s own performance spoke to him loud and clear. Now we will see if the positive turnaround lasts for the lefty.