Freddy steps in, doesn’t miss a beat

Close games and a worn out bullpen
Scouting The Trade Market: Kole Calhoun
(AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

Lost in the frustration of last night’s loss was Freddy Garcia’s strong performance in his return to the rotation. The injuries to CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte forced the Yankees to remove Freddy from the long man role and essentially make him the fourth starter, and he responded by allowing just two runs in 5.1 innings while being held to a 75-pitch limit. His last pitch was a game-tying solo homer by Carlos Pena, so his night ended on a sour note, but otherwise he did exactly what the team needed him to do.

“I need to step up,” said Garcia after last night’s game. “We’ve got a couple of guys hurt. I want to do good. That’s all, man. I want to pitch good. I’ve got the chance again, and I want to take my opportunity to prove I can be in the starting rotation.”

Of course, Freddy was banished to the bullpen because he was a disaster in April. He pitched to a 12.51 ERA (5.39 FIP) in his four starts, failing to complete even two full innings twice. Joe Girardi used him very sparingly during May and June — ten appearances (17.1 IP) in the team’s 54 games — and very rarely in a close game. Seven of those ten appearances came with the score separated by three or more runs. Freddy pitched well though (1.57 ERA and 2.94 FIP) and despite all that talk about his fastball velocity coming back, you’ll be hard-pressed to find it in the PitchFX data. I think that might have to do with the system’s issues classifying his repertoire more than anything.

For a while I was on the “just release Garcia” bandwagon, which was really born out of frustration as the team struggled in mid-May. When the Yankees are losing we want to see changes made, it’s human nature, and Freddy was an easy move to make. Obviously the club is smarter than me (and you) and they decided to keep the pitching depth, which is coming in mighty handy right now. The fact that Freddy isn’t some kid they have to baby is a plus as well; the Yankees can be aggressive with him and run him out there for 74 pitches after he hadn’t thrown more than 33 in a month like they did last night.

The Garcia we saw last night was pretty much the guy we saw all of last season, a super-finesse guy who generated some weak contact, some hard-hit outs, and kept the Yankees in the game. With Sabathia and Pettitte out for the time being, that’s what the team is going to need Freddy to do in his spot starts. Given his track record and the general unpredictability of young pitchers like David Phelps and Adam Warren, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the sweaty one assumed Pettitte’s rotation spot in the long-term, or at least until the Yankees go out and make a trade.

Close games and a worn out bullpen
Scouting The Trade Market: Kole Calhoun
  • your mom

    Too bad we lost the game. He pitched well enough for the win. Can he hold the Red Sox down this weekend?

  • Robinson Tilapia

    The more we think we know, the less we actually know. This is going to be my mantra today.

    Case in point: One Frederick Sweatworth Garcia.

  • Chad Gaudin the Friendly Ghost

    There is certainly some value in a veteran you can go all Scott Proctor on and not really care if his arm falls off in the process.

    I’m not saying that Joe shouldn’t care about his players, but if Freddy blows out his elbow he’s not going to have to answer for why he ruined some kids career.

    • jjyank

      Plus, I hear they give great presents.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Sure, and it’s also someone who, for while they may not get the job done, nerves aren’t likely to be the reason why.

      Freddy Garcia has some baseball left in him.

      • yooboo

        His change and splitter are ridiculously long and slow. He has a simple wind up mechanic but his long arm action could cause problematic if he tries hard on every pitch. Basically, if he struggles, he is done.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Bullpen management master AND pitching coach. What can you not do?

          • yooboo

            Up Yours! wink!

            off topic, Is Ben Nicholson-Smith working for this blog?

            • Robinson Tilapia

              Unless Kabak has a three-way marriage going with Jack and Will….

    • Steve (different one)

      I don’t think Garcia actually has an arm left to ruin. He throws 88 mph, never from a wind up. He’s basically a knuckleballer without a knuckleball. Have to think his delivery is fairly low stress and I don’t think 75 pitches is going to do much harm.

  • jjyank

    Tis da powah of da SWEAT!!

    • Cris Pengiucci

      I needed to ready that 4 times (veerrry sloooowwwwllllyyy) to figure it out. :-)

      • Cris Pengiucci

        Read, not ready.

    • dc1874

      how much sweat could he perspire in a climate control facility

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Sweat is a way of life. It’s a way of being.

  • yooboo

    Garica has been a slow start as a Yankee. Not surprised. I kind of wish he could finish 6th inning.

    I eye for Nova’s first complete tonight. Can’t wait to witness his ERA is under 4.00 but his career (2 starts) at Tropicianafield is laughable 6.30.

    I challenge Girardi not to warm up reliever on the sideline. I am good at poker.

  • MannyGeee

    I mean, Freddy’s nice and all.. but you have to think Cashman’s all in on the trade market, right?

    With Dempster/Garza/Hamels/Greinke/Liriano* all on the block (thats just the ones we know of) plus the obligatory Wandy trade rumors, somethings got to give.

    This, and oh yeah, Joba’s back bitches.

    *disclaimer: IMO none of these guys for the cost really intrigue me, but I betcha Cash is all over them.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Don’t be so sure. If the available options get the team through until CC and Andy are back, I wouldn’t be one bit surprised to see them ride it out with Phelps/Freddy.

    • Chad Gaudin the Friendly Ghost

      I would doubt he’s ‘all over them’. He’s probably called the Phillies/Brewers/Cubs and said ‘if the price on Hamels/Greinke/Garza comes down to Nunez/Phelps range, call me’ knowing full well it won’t.

      I hope he has no interest in Wandy or Dempster unless they’re total giveaways.

    • yooboo

      If Cashman wont, Hank will step in and break any protocol rule.

      Garcia stays as far as he can. Yanks still have Sabathia, Nova, Hughes and Kuroda as top 4 starters for most of 2nd half.

      Once Sabathia is back, Phelps should be pitching for traveling AAA team.

      Since Warren and Phelps are on 40 man roster, I don’t see Cashman will rush anything. However, if Cashman successfully trade either Warren, Phelps or Mitchell for better and veteran pitcher with 2013 under control like Garza then it is fine.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        The more we think we know….

        Would it hurt you to say “my opinion is that….” and not turn everything into absolutes?

      • yooboo

        Not necessarily an exact trade for Garza. Some other pitcher than aforementioned quality SPs.

  • BK2ATL

    I never understood the let’s-get-rid-of-Fredy campaign around here. There is plenty of value in having him on the team, as we’re now seeing.

    He had a rough April, but still should’ve gotten the benefit of the doubt considering that when all the smoke cleared and the hype died down, he was last year’s 3rd starter in the rotation in the postseason. Pitching with exactly the same stuff.

    It’s not like he doesn’t know how to pitch. He was a successful power pitcher when he was young and has now successfully reinvented himself as a finesse pitcher. Which basically means that he KNOWS that he has to make his pitches and outsmart hitters. He doesn’t get rattled. He doesn’t give in. He simply knows how to pitch.

    He only got burned last night 2x when he missed his spots, and Tampa made him pay. That can and will happen to anyone. There is something to the change-of-pace pitcher that leave offenses off-balance. That’s what Garcia can do and will do.

    I just didn’t think that Garcia should have been sent back out there after 5 innings, considering that his arm wasn’t built up for that drastic a workload. It was asking for trouble, and it happened.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Because he’s the luckiest pitcher in the face of the planet. 6 K/9, 36 GB%, 20 percent LD%.

      He’s not missing bats or getting groundballs and he’s letting up more line drives than Nova.