Honk, Honk, Honk, Honk, Honk, Honk, Honk
One for each magnificent inning pitched by PH8-adopted starting pitcher Jaime Garcia.
Jaime was brilliant again last night, striking out five while only walking one and allowing four hits over seven strong innings.
His pitch count got up into triple digits (102), which mildly concerns me, and should be the exception for him and not the rule. I’m not saying he can’t do it or doesn’t have the arm strength, but for all the same reasons that folks were arguing he needed to go to Memphis out of Spring Training, the Cardinals should be cautious about taxing his surgically repaired left elbow TOO much. I believe he’s healthy, and he certainly is showing that, but there’s no need to start trotting him out for 100-110 pitches each time he takes the ball either.
Many folks are starting to take notice of what the Cardinals may have found in Garcia. I noticed Bernie Miklasz on Twitter last night raving about Garcia’s pitch assortment, the way his fastball tails away from right-handed hitters, and the great command that allows almost all of his pitches to be out pitches. Obviously, I couldn’t agree more.
Couple that ability with his assimilation into the Dave Duncan mold – Garcia got twelve of his outs on groundballs last night – and it becomes very easy to imagine Jaime being very dominant when he is spotted a lead. We’ve seen that twice already in this young season, last night and in his first start against the Brewers and Yovani Gallardo.
Really, really happy for this kid and for the organization – it’s still early, but they may have stumbled onto a legit, cost-controlled starting pitcher to pair with Adam Wainwright for years to come.
Crooked Numbers (and a Serious One)
The Cards put up six runs on Atlanta last night, but you’d be hard-pressed to say they put them up on the Braves pitchers.
Two passed balls that allowed runs, two errors in just the first inning, and Atlanta pitcher Kenshin Kawakami was left pitching from behind the entire game.
Much has been made of the Cardinals’ ability to manufacture runs versus hopefully getting one or two on and then playing long ball, but last night the Braves were manufacturing for them. Obviously the Cards played a part with Skip Schumaker getting on base, Ryan Ludwick continuing his torrid streak in the two-hole, and generally just putting the ball in play.
It seems so simple, yet remains a core truth in baseball – if you make solid contact, you put the ball in play, good things will eventually happen. It was true for the Cardinals last night. Cut down on the strikeouts, put the ball in play, move runners over, run hard and smart, score runs.
Oh, and if you’re Schumaker, apparently high socks might help too. Lookin’ good, Skip.
Enjoy your 25-cent drinks today St. Louis-area Cardinal fans.
Next game: Braves (Jurrjens) at Cardinals (Wainwright), 04/29/2010 12:40pm