The Cardinals dropped a heart-breaker on Sunday, falling to Pittsburgh 6-3 in a 19-inning marathon of a game. It can be difficult to find positives in a loss, especially in an excruciatingly drawn-out defeat to a division rival, but Jaime Garcia provided a reason for Cardinal fans to smile. In his first game back from a lengthy stint on the disabled list, Garcia stood on the mound like a beacon of hope.
Two months ago, it was looking like Jaime Garcia’s 2012 season was all but lost. Through his first 66 innings, Garcia posted a 3-4 record with an ERA of 4.48. Team doctors discovered some tearing in his labrum and rotator cuff, so they sent him Dr. James Andrews for further inspection. Season-ending surgery was not out of the question. Garcia was advised to take the path of rest and rehab, with his return date very much up in the air. Despite the lingering question marks, manager Mike Matheny remained optimistic.
“There’s so many uncertainties with Jaime,” Matheny said. ”For him to maybe have a break and come back better than ever, is something I see as a positive.”
I’m not sure that even Matheny envisioned a return as brilliant as this. Garcia struck out ten batters, a career high, while surrendering zero earned runs through eight innings. He allowed only five hits and didn’t walk a single batter. If Garcia can continue his resurgence, his presence will do wonders for the Cardinals’ pitching staff. In a rotation with four right-handed pitchers, the southpaw Garcia will force opposing teams to adjust their gameplans. He also pushes Joe Kelly to the bullpen, who will help stabilize a group that has had an up-and-down campaign. Mike Matheny may have exaggerated a bit with his comments, but if Sunday’s start is any indication, Jaime Garcia has come back better than ever.
About the Author
Written by David Gorsky
I'm a lifelong sports fan with a particular interest in baseball. I'm a proponent of using SABRmetrics to find a player's true value. I recently graduated from the University of Virginia and I'm ready to start my career in sports media. I can be reached at davidgorsky(at)outlook.com.