Despite surfacing 1-3 record and an ERA over six during spring training, Jaime Garcia remained confident that his stuff was still very good and wasn't worried at all; I guess shame on us for raising an eye brow.
With Adam Wainwright out for the year, Garcia is emerging as the cardinals ace. Thanks to another stellar outing Tuesday night, the lefthander is now tied for the league lead with a 1.64 ERA, and still remains undefeated. Can Garcia win 20 games this year? Yes he can because I think he's getting stronger, smarter, and more confident each start. Garcia endured Tommy John surgery following the 2008 season, so after 28 appearances last year, the Redbirds wisely shut him down making sure health problems wouldn't pop up. However this season it looks like Garcia won't need to be monitored so closely.
I enjoy watching Garcia pitch because he moves the game along quickly. It's almost like he's saying after an out or a hit, 'just give me the ball and lets do this thing.' For being so young (24 years old) I don't think I've interviewed an athlete so business-like than Garcia (maybe he can thank Chris Carpenter and Dave Duncan for that mindset). If you think Garcia is going to get caught up in his success this year, think again. It seems every pitcher on the staff, especially Garcia, understands that baseball is a fickle, humbling game where bad breaks can surface quickly.
When Garcia fields questions in the clubhouse after his start, it's almost like he's pre-programed, and I say that in a complementary way. He acknowledges his success or failures, describes how he went about his start, then immediately moves on; he never gets too high or too low, and if he can keep that same mindset while enduring more good breaks than bad breaks throughout the remainder of the season, this 22nd round pick can win 20 games this season.