Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tidy 84-Pitch Outing for Garcia

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tidy 84-Pitch Outing for Garcia

Article excerpt

Don't waste your time looking for a strikeout-to-walk-ratio if you're analyzing Jaime Garcia's stats over his first three starts of the season. You won't find one.

It doesn't exist.

Garcia wasn't dominant Thursday night, but once again, his control was. He struck out seven batters without walking one, and now hasn't allowed a walk in 19.2 innings this season.

You need at least one to have a ratio. So far, Garcia and his surgically-repaired shoulder haven't given opposing hitters a sniff at a free pass.

Losing the mound for a full year hasn't affected the way he finds the zone.

"Extremely efficient," manager Mike Matheny said Thursday. "He did a good job."

This is three times out now for the repaired lefty. He's won once, lost once and now been stuck with a no-decision after the bullpen spoiled a 6-5 loss to San Francisco.

The outcome Thursday left a bad taste in the Cardinals' mouths, but Garcia's performance against the National League's top team assured that he has successfully reclaimed the rotation spot his injury left open last season, the one Joe Kelly's opened this year.

Garcia surrendered just five hits. Although two left the yard, those home runs are undoubtably a result of being around the plate so much, which allowed Garcia to work quickly, last deep into the game and kept his fielders sharp.

There are two edges to this sword, and the sharper one didn't kill Garcia on Thursday, even if it did stab him a few times.

"He has good command of the strike zone," Cardinals first baseman Allen Craig said. "When he's feeling good out there, we're really confident."

Garcia needed just 84 pitches to get through seven innings, 59 of them going for strikes. Garcia left with a lead and his final line was good enough to get a win on most nights.

Although that depends on who you ask.

"I thought he was really good tonight," said Craig, who homered and drove in another run with a double. …

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