Freddy Garcia Needs a Good Start
By Matt Hunter
Freddy Garcia has been awful, plain and simple. As much as I want to point to his underlying peripherals (BB-rate, K-rate, GB-rate), which are on par or better than previous years, there’s just no doubt that Garcia has been hit, and hit hard. Batters are hitting tons of line drives, and they have only whiffed on 6.3% of his pitches, a career low. But the biggest issue for Garcia isn’t whether his poor pitching has been a result of luck or bad defense, but whether he can prove to Girardi and Yankees management that he deserves a spot in the rotation. Luckily for him, with Hughes also struggling, Garcia still has a chance to stay in the rotation once Pettitte comes back, but first he needs to prove that he can still get major league hitters out.
The Tigers are pretty stacked in terms of offense, with Austin Jackson, Brennan Boesch, Miguel Cabrera, and Prince Fielder holding up the top of the order. Freddy Garcia will have a tough time getting his 87MPH fastball past those strong hitters, so look for him to try and paint the corners with offspeed stuff and keep the Tigers off-balance. The biggest thing he needs to do is to avoid the longball, which has killed him thus far in 2012. This will be tough with Cabrera and Fielder, two of the most powerful hitters in the game, in the middle of the lineup, but if Garcia shows that he can shut them down, he will have shown that he can still be an effective pitcher, even against elite hitters.
As a fan, I can’t deny that I hope Hughes sticks over Garcia, but for Garcia’s sake, he needs a huge bounceback performance this afternoon. He may make the Yankees’ decision harder, but that’s a good dilemma to have, and upping his trade value is never a bad thing either.