ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- If there’s a time for Jaime Garcia to gain some consistency...it’s now. I’m not quite sure there is a more frustrating player on the Cardinals roster than him.
Think about it. When someone with minimal talent plays poorly, it’s to be expected. Or at least not as hard to take.
However, when someone with an obscene amount of talent flounders, that is a totally different story. Sure, things happen. Guys can get into a funk. Happens to the best of them. No one was more annoyed at criticism in his prime than Albert Pujols...who had to hear about going 0-10 despite hitting .325 with 35 home runs.
But when 0-10’s turn into 3-45’s for a position player or two rough starts turn into six or seven for a pitcher...that’s when you’ve got yourself a pattern. And not a good one.
Jaime Garcia returned from a shoulder injury to dominate the Pirates for eight shutout innings on August 19th. He followed that up with back-to-back rough outings in Cincinnati and Washington. A fantastic performance followed versus the Mets before a disaster in San Diego. Since then he’s been okay against the Dodgers and Astros.
Here’s the bottom line. In 2012, Garcia’s got a 4.25 ERA and a .294 opponents batting average to go with a 1.42 WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched). For someone with Garcia’s talent, I’m sorry, but that’s not good enough.
No, wait, scratch that. It’s unacceptable.
He’s got such good stuff that he was brought up to the big leagues as a 22-year old in 2008. After Tommy John surgery cost him 2009 he was so impressive the Cards put him in the rotation immediately in 2010.
From there he just took off. Garcia posted a ridiculous 2.70 ERA that season in 163 innings. So good that it was unreasonable to suggest he could duplicate that the next year. Turned out, we were right to think that. He regressed, slightly, but still had a respectable season in 2011 where he had a 3.56 ERA in 194 innings.
There’s nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all.
What there is a problem with is the fact he’s regressed even more this season...sitting at that previously mentioned number of 4.25 with just a few more starts to go before the season is over.
Without attempting to play psychiatrist here, it would seem Garcia’s problems are on the mental side of things. His stuff never changes. It’s nasty. He’s got the best late movement on his pitches of anyone on this team.
What does change is his demeanor and location based on the game’s circumstances. When things are going swimmingly, he’s calm and cool. But when something happens that changes the games flow - and not in a good way for the Cardinals - he’s not. His demeanor changes. And that affects his location.
How that gets fixed, I haven’t the slightest clue. But what I do know is this. If they can get Garcia to just calm himself a little bit in those situations, and be a little more consistent, he could be a huge factor in the postseason.
Garcia’s got too good of stuff to have an ERA in the 4’s. Too good.