Trevor Gott has seen deeper nadirs than the one he’s now trying to climb out of.
The Giants reliever who sparkled the first two and a half months of the season has dulled the last three weeks, his ERA spiking from 2.57 on June 11 to 4.21 entering Saturday’s Oracle Park game against the Cardinals.
Friday was another low point, when the usually reliable righty entered with the Giants down 4-3 in the fifth and allowed two runs, the Cardinals getting the beginnings of their cushion of their win. In his past 8 1/3 innings, the 26-year-old has allowed nine runs (9.72 ERA).
“Feel like I haven’t been throwing as many strikes. I’ve been getting behind guys,” said Gott, who had a stint on the IL in late May/early June with a right forearm strain. “I don’t think it’s anything physically or my mechanics.”
Or mentally, he said, which is an improvement from his past. Gott was obtained from Washington in February in exchange for cash considerations, the end of a difficult tenure with the Nationals. He had pitched well in 2015 with the Angels, then was traded to the Nationals and their roller-coaster. He was hurt for much of 2016 and yo-yo’ed between the minors and majors the next two seasons, never getting his footing in the majors before he was demoted again.
“I had success [with the Angels] before the last three years, when I was with the Nationals,” Gott told KNBR. “I was going through some injuries. There was a pretty quick trigger there whenever I did get called up.
“I’m not going to lie: I lost some confidence in the last two or three years.”
A fresh start with the Giants — as well as mostly trading in his two-seam fastball for a four-seamer — did him good. With a mid-90s four-seam fastball “with a little more ride to it” and a curveball, Gott has struck out 38 in 36 1/3 innings, easily his best ratio of his career.
Still, the speed bumps are here. He said the fact the Cardinals’ success came through ground balls was at least a bright side, as the groundball pitcher was getting what he looked for — just not directed at his fielders.
“That’s a lot more encouraging than balls off the wall,” Gott said. “They hit the balls on the ground, found a couple holes. That’s what happens. Obviously, the leadoff walk, that never turns out good.”
He has issued five walks in the nine-game span, the strike zone abandoning him before his confidence has. Gott spoke positively about a half-season spent in the majors without (non-injury) interruption, so “people see that I can still do it.”
The Giants will let him prove that.
“He hasn’t quite been as sharp recently,” Bruce Bochy acknowledged Friday. “And they’re going to go through their moments, and he’ll be fine. We’ll get him back.”