Already past his prime, the 37-year-old right-hander struggled with the Orioles during the early part of the season, posting a 3-5 record and a 5.77 ERA in 11 games (10 starts). Thus, it was hard to predict how would he would perform in his return to the National League, where he hadn’t pitched since going 1-5 with a 5.90 ERA in 11 starts for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007.
With that said, I saw Garcia’s success coming.
And that’s not me being vain. It is based solely on the gut feeling that I had when I first learned that the Braves had traded for the veteran hurler on Aug. 23.
You see, although Atlanta’s rotation has been one of the best in MLB, it is also one of the youngest pitching staffs in baseball. As a matter of fact, of the Braves’ top three starters, Kris Medlen is the oldest at 27 years old, while Mike Minor is 25 and rookie Julio Teheran is just 22.
Given that 38-year-old starter Tim Hudson‘s season was ended by a broken ankle in late July, bringing in an experienced pitcher became even more important, and Braves general manager Frank Wren pulled off one of the quietest steals of the waiver trade deadline when he acquired Garcia in exchange for cash considerations.
I’m not going to pretend that I knew Garcia would be this good, though. Despite the fact that he has posted a 1-2 record in five games (two starts), he has allowed just three runs in 20.2 innings, which equates to a 1.31 ERA.
But he has been to — and through — the playoffs before, even being christened with the nickname “Big Game” by the Chicago White Sox during their 2005 World Series championship season, which ended in a sweep when he defeated the Houston Astros after tossing seven scoreless innings in Game 4.
This year, he may do it again for a new club.