"Bull," says catcher Terry Kennedy. "Everybody wants an explanation for why Andy is going so good. He's good because he's good. It's not a Cinderella story or luck or fluky or anything like that. He's good. We're good."
Indeed, Hawkins has galloped to his own rescue as often as fortune has. Against Atlanta in his third start, he opened the game by giving up a double to Claudell Washington, a single to Rafael Ramirez and a three-run dinger to Dale Murphy. In the next inning, he started with a triple to Terry Harper. Inside of four outs, he had pitched for the cycle. That done, he retired the next 18 hitters and earned the victory. Go figure.
Hawkins seems to pitch best while suspended over a vat of bubbling oil. He gave up 10 hits to Montreal in win No. 10, but only three runs. He faced Andre Dawson three times with five runners in scoring position yet escaped with two harmless sacrifice flies.
"I don't panic anymore," says Hawkins, who gives much credit to the Padres' new pitching coach, Galen Cisco, and the cut fastball Cisco taught him. "I know there's a way out now."
Make that Hawkins's motto. In the jam of his life, he found a way out: out of Las Vegas, out of the doghouse and out of the shadows. "I know that I've proved I belong now," he says.
Now that sounds Texan.