Early wins have Floyd wanting more
White Sox righty not content despite quick start to season
ST. PETERSBURG -- Gavin Floyd reached a minor personal milestone with his victory over the Indians on Wednesday.
Although his fifth win set an individual single-season high in that category, Floyd has his sights set on a much higher final number.
"I'm happy to have done what I've done," said Floyd of reaching five wins in 10 starts this season. "But it's still early on and I'm trying to build."
Floyd hasn't needed much time to prove he belongs as part of the White Sox starting rotation. It's knowledge believed in strongly enough by general manager Ken Williams, manager Ozzie Guillen and pitching coach Don Cooper that the organization felt confident in moving a steady, proven hurler such as Jon Garland back in November.
Six months later, Floyd has been one of the key contributors within the South Siders' run to the top of the American League Central.
Floyd hasn't exactly overpowered hitters, with 32 strikeouts and 27 walks over 64 1/3 innings. Yet the opposition has hit a mere .193 against Floyd, second only to the Blue Jays' Shaun Marcum's ridiculous .160 opponents' batting average, while twice taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning.
Strikeouts never have been a staple of Floyd's repertoire, but making the pitches to quickly get through innings is more important at this point of his career.
"Throw strikes, and go out there and focus on each pitch," said Floyd of his game plan. "Strikeouts are nice, but I would rather see the ball put in play and let the fielders take it. If I'm getting outs any way possible, that's all that matters.
"There have been games where I do strike out a lot, and I have strikeout pitches, but I've never really been a strikeout pitcher. I try to attack, get quick outs and stay longer in the game."
Carrying a 3.22 ERA through 10 starts certainly is enough to declare Floyd an early-season success, and throw the word consistent into the equation to describe the right-hander. Approximately 25 starts still await Floyd, and there's no guarantee this success will play on throughout the entire campaign.
For those remaining doubters, the confident Floyd has a direct message to deliver.
"I don't care," said Floyd with a laugh. "Of course, the baseball season is a long season, and you are going to have ups and downs.
"You just try to have more ups than downs. I focus on each start, and I really don't worry about what people think. I'm here for the team."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.