Complaints about Garcia don’t match reality

Silva makes his first minor league start
Game 29: Just freaking win
Pick up your head, Freddy. You weren't that bad. (Carlos Osorio/AP)

During and after last night’s game, I noticed a deluge of complaints rendered against Freddy Garcia. When they came during the game it was understandable. He put the Yankees in an early hole, and with a non-functioning offense he might as well have given up 10 runs. But he didn’t. Following Magglio Ordonez’s third-inning homer Garcia didn’t allow another run, and actually struck out seven in the next four innings. (Well, five, since two were Austin Jackson.) His line on the night was actually pretty decent: 7 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 8 GB. And the second walk came in the eighth, which he wouldn’t have pitched at all if the Yankees had scored some runs.

It’s easy to get frustrated with Garcia, because he’s the misfit of the group. The Yankees piled up veteran starters on minor league deals, because they couldn’t get Cliff Lee and Andy Pettitte retired. That’s strike one. Garcia doesn’t tantalize with his stuff, basically throwing slow, slower, and slowest pitches. That’s strike two. When he gives up runs — and he absolutely will give up his fair share — that’s strike three. And so the frustrations can run high, and they’ll run higher when the Yankees aren’t doing anything on offense. Hence, the reaction to last night.

As is the case so frequently, the reaction far exceeded the infraction. Garcia actually pitched better than CC Sabathia the night before. CC clearly gets a pass, because he’s the ace and he has already contributed so much to the team. But any way you measure it, Garcia had better numbers. He allowed the same number of hits, runs, and unintentional walks, and had more strikeouts than Sabathia. Neither was stellar, and really, neither was quite good. But neither was horrible, either. That seems to get lost with Garcia.

To this point, Garcia has given the Yankees everything they could have hoped for, and perhaps more. after all, he’s thrown 25 innings to a 2.88 ERA, including two six-inning, no-run performances to start his season. Even by fielding independent numbers he’s doing fine, a 3.98 FIP and 3.70 xFIP. There is really nothing to not like about Garcia right now. Yet he generates plenty of complaints, because he happen to turn in last night’s performance when the Yankees offense had nothing.

I don’t particularly enjoy writing in response to fan reaction, but we’re all fans and we all want the same things. As it stands, Freddy Garcia is helping the Yankees towards their goal of winning the division and eventually the World Series. He’s highly flawed, which makes him an easier target. He also symbolizes the failures of the off-season, which further hurts his case. But to this point he has been better than the Yankees could have expected. Even last night he wasn’t bad. He was just not great. Which, really, is what we should get from Garcia at his best. It’s not the ideal solution, but it’s better than many of the alternatives.

Silva makes his first minor league start
Game 29: Just freaking win
  • James

    12 base runners in 7 innings is pretty decent?

    • pat

      When only 4 of them score? Yes.

      • Mister Delaware

        Yup, and it seems like this gets lost in the debate way too often. If a guy allows 12 baserunners but only 2 runs over 6 innings, he had a successful outing. Its a predictor of future problems and not a dominant or even particularly effective outing, but a successful one all the same.

      • James

        Luck not skill. Show me a pitcher with a 1.7 WHIP who holds down a job for long.

        • CG

          He doesn’t have a 1.7 whip, only in one game. Plus, he stuck out a little over a batter per inning which helps

          • Mister Delaware

            If a guy homers in 1-0 game while going 1-5, are you going to complain about his .200 AVG/OBP?

            • Mister Delaware

              (This was for James.)

  • Bpdelia

    Actually for a fifth starter he IS ideal. He is veteran who er can use an needed. He can be skipped, he had no ip limits. He’s solid and unspectacular but basically as good as alnost every other teams fifth stsrter. If the yanks score 5 the story is his gutty veteran bend dont break outing. 5th stsrter is not, was not and will not be this teams problem. In fact 5th starter isnt amongst this teams top 5 problems.

    • Jericho Spade

      I was going to say, he is the FIFTH STARTER!

      • MannyGeee

        hell, this was performance we were getting from our 3rd starter in 2010!

        I’ll take it!

    • Greg

      Yanks certainly have the market cornered on number 5 starters.

  • Yank the Frank

    Our starting pitching has not been our most recent problem. Lack luster offense combined with poor baserunning will do it everytime. This too shall pass and we are still in 1st.

  • jackstrawelf

    Freddy Garcia has been a pleasant suprise so far. I will take his performance last night every time he pitches, 7 innings and 4 runs keeps us in the game and this is the worst start for him I have seen and it is still better than most of the other pitchers with exception of Colon and maybe CC. The issue with the Yanks is and has been their scouting and hitting. They make terrible picthers look like aces and if they are not hitting home runs they arent going to win. Thats how it was through 2005-2007 and we were quick exits in the playoffs every year just waiting for a home run. Scouting department sucks and so does Kevin Long. Look at Berkman now without Kevin Long. Ill give you Grandersons improvement but everybody else gets worse each year and these guys were putting up Miguel Cabrera numbers before Kevin Long came. Don’t hate on Garcia–he has been a great suprise in my opinion.

    • Greg

      I’ll give you that Yankee starting pitching has been good the last 2 weeks and that Garcia was decent last night but it isn’t good enough on the whole when we say, after every starter outside of CC goes 6 and gives up 4 runs, that “I’ll take that every time…” Recall the Shawn Chicon, Aaron Small years?? That’s what we were saying about the rotation back then and in the long run those guys weren’t good enough. Yanks need a real no 2 behind CC and Cashman effed up when he didn’t get one last season after Lee fell through.

      • Mister Delaware

        Who would you have gotten?

        • Dale Mohorcic

          Seriously. And who of the Yankees starters this far has a 6 ERA?

          • Mister Delaware


            • RL

              That made me laugh.

            • TheMick

              You realize we’re not talking about baseball cards, right?

        • Greg

          Oswalt and Haren were obviously available at the trade deadline last year. And the Phillies traded for Oswalt after giving up their best prospects for Halladay before the season even started. Would have thought Cashman could have put a package together, perhaps one without Montero. Oswalt has only been arguably the best pitcher in best baseball since the Phillies traded for him.

        • Greg

          And the problem is that there isn’t going to be s&^% available at the trade deadline this year (next year’s free agent class is terrible). But if everyone is comfortable matching Sabathia, AJ, Colon and Garcia up against Lester, Buchholz, Beckett and Lackey in a series so am I.

    • Jerome S.

      Never say that K-Long sucks. Never.

      • jackstrawelf

        he does, prove me otherwise, 80% of the team hits worse with him than they did before him and after him, K long is a nice guy but highly over rated. AL East pitching sucks and so does AL central and we cant hit nobody this year and definitely last year.

  • Tank the Frank

    I just think people are waiting for him to get shelled. Expectations shouldn’t be that high for Garcia and I think he’s exceeded them by a good amount. It’s frustrating when a pitcher puts your team in a hole early, but he pitched pretty well after that. Well done Freddy. The bats are in a huge slump however. Ever since the White Sox series.

  • jack

    could not agree more. put garcias #s so far up againt any other teams’ 5th starter and garcia is among, if not the, best out there right now. he has already eanred the contract we gave him.

  • Jorge

    I was just fine with Freddy’s performance last night. That lineup should have put more than enough runs. He kept the team in the game and allowed the bullpen some rest. I would have easily signed up for 3/4 of that in spring.

    This team couldn’t knock out a gassed Jose Valverde for two nights straight. That was pretty sickening to watch.

  • MannyGeee

    It’s easy to get frustrated with Garcia, because he’s the misfit of the group

    what does this make Bartolo Colon then?

    this should be a fun game…

    • jon

      the 2nd best pitcher on our team?

      • Rob Thomsen’s Chili Farts

        1st best.

  • David N

    Garcia’s a decent, if not very good, fifth starter, which is what he was signed to be. I too was on the “second lousy start” train last night, but now that I’ve slept on it, it’s really tough for me to get on any pitcher with an ERA under 3. Besides, 4 runs is normally enough to get the Yankees a win. So…no need to panic yet.

  • Preston

    I honestly would have been surprised if Freddy and Colon had put together this many solid starts over the course of the season. They’ve both been gamers for us. Now if Girardi would stop pretending we’re a NL team and quit bunting and getting guys thrown out on hit and runs we could score occasionally.

    • Cuso

      most of the blunders on the basepaths have not been Girardi’s fault

  • RJ

    For once in recent memory I agree with NL Joe’s pitching moves and leaving Garcia out there to start the 8th give him a chance to get stretched out a bit and not be a 5 or 6 and done guy.

    Let’s be honest here most other nights, the Yanks win a game in which the starter goes 8IP 4ER.

    There isnt a team in the league (except maybe Philly) that if they could, wouldn’t just pen in that line once every 5 days when the 5th guy is supposed to go.

  • Frigidevil

    7+ innings of 4 run ball? I’ll take that any day, especially from the 5th starter. You know how many times Mitre went 7 innings for us? Never. The closest he came was 6.1 innings of shutout ball in a 10-0 win. That start was sandwiched between a 2 inning 4 run relief appearance, and a 4.1 inning 11 run start.

  • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan

    I’m glad you posted this. Unfortunately it won’t change a thing.

  • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    Hold on, I’ve been a bit out of it lately… People are complaining about Freddy Garcia? Seriously?

    Like for real seriously?


    • Rob Thomsen’s Chili Farts

      I personally haven’t seen or heard it, but I guess it’s happening.

  • Ted Nelson

    Good analysis

  • LarryM.,Fl.

    When Garcia made the club in ST I knew he would have some games of this nature. He’ll be a magician sometimes and sometimes he won’t. But he knows how to pitch and keep the Yanks in the game. He doesn’t give up and the Yanks had 4 runs to make up which is reasonable.

    He did his job and the offense was non-existent.

  • Mooch

    The problem is not Garcia, Colon, or Nova. They are all serviceable starters that can fill the 4 or 5 starter role. The problem is that we have all 3 currently in our rotation. We have gotten way more out of them than certainly I thought. I do not believe this is sustainable for even a half a season, let alone a full season. A big move has to be made. Not to mention ticket prices have been soft and with the exorbitant prices they are charging, fans deserve better then these guys in the rotation. One of them fine, Two ok for a short bit. All three no way.

    • Greg

      Totally agree. You can’t have number 5 starters filling out 60 to 80% of your rotation (based on last year many would argue that AJ is a number 5 too). The “I’ll take 4 runs in 6IP attitude” 4 out of every 5 nights just doesn’t cut it. Too much pressure on the offense (not too mention the other 3 innings on the BP). Averaging 5 runs per game over the season equates to 810 runs. Only 2 teams in MLB scored at least that many runs last year. And this isn’t to say these guys haven’t pitched well because they have. They are all serviceable (as noted). But you need another guy in the rotation who you expect to be able to go 7 or 8 giving up 2 or less runs each time out (not that that will happen but that is the expectation).

  • toad

    I agree with Joe’s post.

    Garcia has delivered what could reasonably be hoped for. Maybe more.

    If the offense had produced five runs last night everyone would be pleased with “another decent start” by Garcia.

  • Cuso

    Yeah, not sure what the point is for ripping Garcia last night. Didn’t he give up 4 runs in the first three innings and then NOTHING for the next 4+?

    Guy pitched into the 8th and held them after his early difficulties. I have no problem at all with what he gave us from the #4/#5 spot last night. I’d even consider it acceptable from a #3 guy, truth be told.

    • JimAbbottFan

      I think it was the perception at the time that left a bad taste in people’s mouths. Basically, Tigers are getting runs every inning while the Yankees look lost at the plate…again.

      Sure Garcia settled down after the 3rd, but with no improvement in the offense, it’s hard to see past those 4 runs, which felt like 10 runs.

      It’s easy to make him the scapegoat, but there are definitely other issues that need to be addressed and Garcia’s performance shouldn’t be a priority.

  • Klemy

    Garcia has been pitching fine for what we need of him. It’s on the offense of the $200 million team to score 4 runs against the Tigers. I would take a 4 run start from Garcia every time out over that many innings if I were offered it.

  • Lisa

    Since we had that offensive outburst that Saturday in Baltimore, the offense has been brutal while the pitching has been pretty good. How many times have we seen lead-off men get on base and they are left there? How many double plays, men on second and third with less than two outs, bases loaded situations and on and on? I truly though the starting pitching was going to be our biggest issue with what we were dealing with and when Hughes went down I was really worried. The pitching has been really decent but I never thought I was look at this lineup and see how many of them are struggling at the same time.

  • The209

    Can you write up one of these re: Jeter?

    • Monteroisdinero

      47 singles to go!

  • AdamParker

    We would have lost had Garcia pitched a complete game and only gave up 1 run. It was all about lack of offense last night.

  • Monteroisdinero

    The offense has looked like last September these last few games. I think Garcia has been more than fine overall and am glad we have him.

    Btw, Aceves starting for Pawtucket against us at Scranton tonight.

    • Betty Lizard

      Plus, there was a distinctive Mariners cheer (“Come OHHHHNNNNN, FreDDEEEEEE!) which I delight in reproducing every time Garcia pitches. I just love him–and he’s actually doing a good job for us.

    • David, Jr.

      Right on it. Nothing wrong with Freddy. He also has major stones for a playoff start. He is not a worry at all as a 4th or 5th starter

  • Jerome S.

    Every team gets shut out… even the Red Sox. Shit happens, just not that often. Get over it.

  • Rob Thomsen’s Chili Farts

    He’s performing as well as the ace of the staff.

  • TheMick

    The fans really need to get over Cliff Lee and be happy with the performances we have received from Garcia and Colon.

    2011 WAR to date

    Lee – 0.7 $24,000,000
    Garcia – 0.7 $1,500,000
    Colon – 0.8 $900,000

  • Joltin’ Joe

    Freddy has been quite good in my estimation. A FIP and xFIP in the 3.8 range is terrific, and he’s getting plenty of Ks and grounders, so the peripherals are there. He’s not going to give up 10 hits every game, especially when he gets 16/21 outs via strikeout or grounder. That is a recipe for success, and I’m thrilled he’s doing what he is.