Meet Freddy Garcia, No. 3 Starter

April 16, 2011 – 6:42 pm

Freddy GarciaNYY 5, Texas 2. Freddy Garcia put on a pitching clinic today, proving that if you mix up your pitches and have good command of the strike zone, you don’t need a mid-90’s fastball to dominate even the best hitters. With nothing more than an 86mph fastball, but with a good mix of changeups, sliders, and curve balls he shut out the hot-hitting Texas Rangers for six innings on just two hits. With both Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova struggling so far, just this one outing probably cements the No. 3 position in the rotation for Garcia. And if today was any kind of indication of what we’ll get out of Garcia in future starts, that goes a long way towards solving what was starting to look like a significant problem. The plan coming in to the season was to make up for quality starters with quantity, and maybe that strategy will indeed pay off in the end.

But that good news about the starting rotation may have been offset by bad news in the bullpen, as Rafael Soriano got roughed up yet again, almost blowing what was shaping up to be a very nice win. Soriano allowed four of the first five hitters in the eighth to reach base, but finally got bailed out by an inning ending double-play. Since it was six DPs that pretty much did in the Yankees yesterday, I guess it’s only fair that the DP would kill what chances Texas had for a comeback today. But that’s Soriano’s second terrible outing in six appearances. Hopefully this is nothing more than Soriano getting used to the eighth inning setup role as opposed to being the closer, and he’ll adapt soon enough. If not, that could quickly turn in to a real problem.

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