The NLDS is really sort of a joke.
Sep 7, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Atlanta Braves pitcher Freddy Garcia (50) delivers to the plate during the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Braves 6-5. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
A “best-0f-five” series? Really? What are we, in some kind of hurry? We just spent six months and two more nights seeing who gets to play in these games, then we sort of blast through the first round of the post season like baseball is suddenly supposed to be played with urgency or in time for things.
And then, in a part of the playoffs Ray Liotta just forgot to narrate I guess, what if one of those games is against Freddy Garcia? Isn’t there some old-timey baseball legislation that prevents this? You know, so we can the use the rules of the game to prevent players from doing things?
The Braves, who apparently have no respect for the game, will be sending 36-year-old right hander and most unharmoniously booed starting Phillies pitcher since Cole Hamels Freddy Garcia, having lost all apparent desire to win the game and prevent themselves from being eliminated. The Braves have many other pitchers on their playoff roster, including rookie hurler David Hale, who himself was flabbergasted to have been left on. He is supposed to be providing long relief from the bullpen; with the Guy Who Comes Into the Game When Your Starter is So Bad He Cannot Get Out of the Second Inning being a critical role on any post season team.
Starting over him will, again, be Garcia, who was called all of these things by Phillies representatives when acquired by the team in 2007 and before allowing 38 earned runs in 58 innings.
- “I’d say we picked up an ace.” –Charlie Manuel
- “He was on our short list.” –Former director of player development Mike Arbuckle
- “Worth trading Gio Gonzalez for.” –Former GM Pat Gillick, through his actions
Gillick traded Gavin Floyd and Gonzalez for Garcia at the time, stricken with a case of laryngitis and various other winter disease that somehow did not allow him to see the short term future, in which Garcia would be the Phillies’ worst performing starter and wind up being considered the team’s least deserving player to still be on the team after 11 starts.
Tonight, Garcia, who was allowing almost two home runs per nine innings, while making a $10 million salary and sucking down the team’s chances with a -0.3 WAR, will get to start in the playoffs, despite having been contemplating retirement mere weeks ago.
Granted, Garcia did post a 0.9 WAR for the Braves after stumbling into a promotion after Paul Maholm got hurt, but this was after attempting to bring the Orioles down from the inside with a 5.77 ERA in 53 innings, matching his 2007 bar set for negative WAR, and helping to prevent them making the playoffs. Now, due to a lack of depth for the Braves, he’ll get to make a start while the Orioles watch helplessly on TV, unable to wipe those shocked, eerily still smiles off their faces. Chances are he will pitch seven innings of one-run, three-hit ball by remembering to Play the Game the Right Way.
In Garcia’s defense, he has struck out Juan Uribe twice in his career.