Jason Schmidt was the bullpen's best friend during May, throwing seven innings in five of his six starts. The Giants right-hander was rewarded for his pen-friendly performance Monday, as he was named the National League Pitcher of the Month.
Schmidt gave the bullpen the night off twice in a row, hurling consecutive complete games against Milwaukee and Chicago on May 3 and May 9. Manager Felipe Alou said Schmidt has adjusted his style this year from the one that saw him clock in with a 12-7 record in 2005.
"Last year, he struggled at the beginning, but he's a different pitcher now," Alou said after Schmidt's complete-game win against Chicago. "He's dominating with different type of stuff than when he used to blow people away."
Schmidt, owner of a 4-0 record and a 1.17 ERA in May, credited the San Francisco offense for his success and for taking the pressure off of him.
"It was kind of hit or miss at times, but the biggest thing was the team scored a lot of runs," Schmidt said of his seven scoreless-inning performance against Colorado. "It made it a lot easier and took the pressure off me. I just let them hit it, more than anything, and it worked out for the best."
Schmidt's rhythm included yielding more than one run only twice in his six starts, and shutting out the opposition twice, against Milwaukee and Colorado. The right-hander maintained his high level of performance despite throwing more than 100 pitches each time he started in May, including a 132-pitch, 8 1/3-inning outing against Oakland on May 20.
Schmidt's accuracy during May no doubt enhanced his effectiveness as he struck out 35 hitters in 46 innings while walking only seven. Opposing lineups batted .174 against Schmidt with 29 hits and two home runs.
Schmidt, the May 2004 winner of the NL Pitcher of the Month Award, claimed he's not doing anything differently and has just been the beneficiary of being in a groove.
"It's the same stuff," Schmidt said. "I've just got a nice little rhythm going."
Other pitchers receiving votes were Arizona's Brandon Webb (4-0, 1.80 ERA), New York's Tom Glavine (5-0, 2.94 ERA) and St. Louis closer Jason Isringhausen (10 saves, 0.77 ERA).
Michael Walsh is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.