Cole Hamels is pitching tonight and that is awesome, people get excited when his turn in the rotation comes up. But alas, that means that tomorrow Freddy Garcia will inevitably take to the hill. Garcia will receive much less fanfare and likely generate less baseball-drama, but he should. I mean in 2006, he led the White Sox in innings (216.1), starts (33) and quality starts (18) and ranked 2nd in wins (17). This season has been a different story as nagging injuries have plagued the off-season acquisition. A sore right bicep caused discomfort in Spring Training, and then he was forced to start the season on the DL with tendonitis. Then there was the incident where he went shin-first into a cart parked in centerfield.
All of this has undoubtedly affected his pitching. He is 0-2 in his last 5 decisions and needed 114 pitches to get through 5 2/3 innings in his last start. He then let his frustration (most likely with himself) get the better of him as he criticized the Manual’s decision to lift him after the game. This season he has worked 37 innings in 7 games for an average of 5 1/3 innings per game. However, those aforementioned 2006 stats are indicative of his career – he is a very good pitcher. For his career he’s averaged almost 6 2/3 innings per game; but he’s only pitched 6 innings twice this season.
Tomorrow, Garcia (1-3, 4.86) will take on the resurgent Byung-Hyun Kim, (2-2, 7.15) who is back after a thumb injury. Freddy has only faced the Marlins once in his career – an April 27th no decision, in which he allowed 4 runs on 7 hits (2 homers) over 4 2/3 innings. In that short outing though, he mowed down 8 Marlins which speaks to his potential. Garcia relies on his fastball, which he throws over 50% of the time, and when it’s on, it’s extremely effective. It sets up his slider in which opposing batters can only hit for a .202 average. But when the fastball fails, so too does Garcia and the Phillies cannot afford gaping-wide hole in the rotation ala Paul Abbott.