(Updated Dec. 1, 2016)
In 2011, Jaime Garcia became the first Cardinals left-handed starter to begin a season 4-0 since John Tudor did it 21 years earlier.
Left-hander Allen Watson went 4-0 in his first five games as a starter for St. Louis in 1993, but that occurred from July 6 to Aug. 4.
Like Garcia, Tudor opened the season as a starter.
Unlike Garcia, who compiled his 4-0 mark in 2011 in 7 starts, Tudor went 4-0 to open the 1990 season by earning wins in each of his first four starts.
Tudor, who pitched for the Cardinals from 1985 until an August 1988 trade to the Dodgers, was reacquired by St. Louis as a free agent in December 1989, signing for a base salary of $350,000.
It was considered a risk. After having elbow, shoulder and knee surgeries after the 1988 season, Tudor pitched just 14.1 innings in six games for the Dodgers in 1989.
Among the teams that had expressed interest in signing Tudor was Oakland, managed by Tony La Russa. But Tudor chose St. Louis, in part, because “I considered it coming home … This is where I’ve been successful in the past, and this is where I felt I could be successful again,” he told Rick Hummel in an article for The Sporting News.
At 36, Tudor opened the 1990 season as the No. 4 starter in a Cardinals rotation that included Joe Magrane, Bryn Smith, Jose DeLeon and Greg Mathews.
_ April 13, 1990, Cardinals 11, Phillies 0, at Philadelphia: Using change-ups away and fastballs in, Tudor retired the first six in a row and limited the Phillies to three hits over six innings. Bob Tewksbury pitched the final three innings for the save. Boxscore
_ April 18, 1990, Cardinals 3, Pirates 0, at Pittsburgh: Going seven innings, Tudor stretched to 13 his scoreless innings streak to open the season. Barry Bonds, batting leadoff, went 0-for-3 against Tudor. Boxscore
_ April 23, 1990, Cardinals 7, Pirates 4, at St. Louis: Jeff King hit a two-run double in the first inning, but Tudor recovered and held Pittsburgh to three runs and five hits over eight innings. Boxscore
_ April 28, 1990, Cardinals 5, Giants 0, at San Francisco: Tudor limited the Giants to five hits in seven scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 0.96. Boxscore
Speaking about Tudor, Cardinals center fielder Willie McGee told The Sporting News, “He’s so precise with his pitching. It’s always just enough on the outside where you can’t get a good piece of it.”
In 25 games, 22 starts, Tudor finished 12-4 with a 2.40 ERA for a last-place 1990 Cardinals team. It was his final big-league season.
“Most people figured he had been through too much to come back,” wrote columnist Bob Hertzel, “but Whitey Herzog, the Cardinals’ manager, knew the doctors had operated on Tudor’s knee, shoulder and elbow, not his heart.”