By: Jim Tsapelas
The dark night of an offensive abyss shrouded the Cardinals during the first two days of their current ten day road trip. Then, on Sunday, the gleaming light of day woke the slumbering Cardinal bats which, in return, have allowed them to enjoy a three game winning streak and a record of three wins against two losses at the midway point of their ten game road trip.
At eighty wins and forty-five losses, the Cardinals own the best record in baseball. With Tuesday night’s nine to one win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, they are four and one-half games in front of the Pittsburgh Pirates and are six and one-half games in front of the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central Division. Recently, the Cubs have been the hottest team in baseball.
With thirty-seven games left in the regular season, if the Cards played just .500 baseball-they would be near the century mark in wins. I predict the Redbirds shall win at least one hundred-three games in the regular season.
The Cardinal rotation is one of the best, if not the best in all of baseball. The Cardinals have five starters none of whom have an ERA over 2.99.
On Tuesday, Cardinal starter Jaime Garcia pitched six very strong innings, allowed four hits, one earned run, walked one, and struck out six. Garcia (6-4) has a remarkable ERA of 1.77. Garcia’s stellar pitching performance was simply a work of dominance and brilliance. His pitches had remarkable late movement. In baseball jargon, Garcia’s stuff on Tuesday was just “nasty.”
Garcia is a left-handed pitcher who despite his six and four 2015 season is one of the better pitchers in MLB. Garcia has been often injured and has spent considerable time on the DL over the past three seasons including two stints on the DL this year. Earlier this season, Jaime Garcia was the first St. Louis Cardinal starter to record an out in the ninth inning of a game. In his four losses, the Cardinals failed to provide Garcia any run support. It is not beyond reasonable consideration that if Garcia had enjoyed some run support in his four losses that he could easily be 10-0; or 9-1, or at least 8-2.
Garcia’s pitch arsenal is comprised of a four seam fastball, sinker, change-up, slider, and curve-ball. Of note, his pitches feature a lot of late movement. This is why, as a pitcher, he is so exceptional. At the age of twenty-nine, Garcia has a lifetime record of forty-eight wins and thirty losses, for a .615 won-loss percentage. Garcia has struck out five hundred thirty-nine batters in his MLB career. If you average his strike outs over seven seasons of one hundred sixty-two MLB games, he would have one hundred-sixty strike outs per year. I believe his won-loss record would be greater if he had remained healthy during his seven MLB seasons. Garcia missed the entire 2009 season due to injury. In 2010 Garcia was third in the Rookie of the Year balloting behind Buster Posey and Jason Heyward.
Garcia is a talented and special pitcher. Keep an eye on his career. We may have an opportunity to witness greatness.
On Wednesday in the third game of their four games series, the Cardinals send John Lackey (10-8) to the hill to meet the D-Backs Patrick Corbin (3-3) at Chase Field.
Thanks for reading!