Garcia’s great start

Lost in the way we lost that game last night, I feel like I failed to give Jaime Garcia his due for the performance he had on Sunday afternoon. He wasn’t totally sharp, made some mistakes, but he was good enough and if it weren’t for an iffy foul ball call, he might have walked away with the win.

I had a great deal of concerns entering the game. Was Garcia really ready for prime time? A 95 pitch limit that was talked about was hardly enough for a typically inefficient Garcia. Could he get deep into the game? There was no way the bullpen could absorb having to pitch four or five innings.

Asked and answered, apparently. He threw 83 pitches over 7 innings. That stacked up as his 8th most efficient start out of the 91 he’s made in his career. It was needed too, because as we learned, the bullpen couldn’t even handle two innings of work.

I picked a few games from the last few seasons. His velocity is better than it was last year on pretty much all his pitches. It’s back to where it was in 2011, probably the last time he threw healthy. His breaking stuff is moving quite a bit too. All in all, it was a brilliant start for Jaime. If he could just stay healthy, he could be one of the best left handed pitchers in baseball.

Funny note for Garcia. He had been hit by a pitch once in 235 career plate appearances entering this season between the Major Leagues and the Minor Leagues. That came back in 2007 while pitching for Double-A Springfield. So far this year he has been hit twice in four plate appearances. Once during a rehab start for Springfield and then yesterday afternoon.

And Garcia’s hit by pitch left me puzzled. After Gavin Floyd finally hit Garcia with the third pitch of the at bat (after trying and failing with the first two), home plate umpire Eric Cooper warned both teams. Garcia’s beaning was obviously payback for his hitting Freddie Freeman with a pitch earlier in the game. So great, both teams have been warned about hitting batters with pitches. Time to move on. Except David Carpenter hits Kolten Wong with a baseball a couple innings later without penalty. What was the point of warning the teams?

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