Not so steady Freddy a problem for Yanks
For the second straight start Freddy Garcia could not get out of the second inning. That marks the first time in his career that he's been unable to do that in consecutive starts. However, it's been more than just the last two starts for Garcia and his 12.51 ERA tells that story. Garcia has given up 25 hits and five walks in just 13.2 innings this season. He has not been able to get anyone out with his array of off-speed stuff. In 2011, there was still some bite to his pitches, but now everything is flat and up, definitely not a good combination when trying to get Major League hitters out.
“My velocity is down,” Garcia said. “We worked all last week. I don't know what's going to happen next. I have to keep working and do my stuff.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi echoed Freddy's point and added to it by saying, “The velocity is also affected on his other pitches. I mean, I've seen Freddy throw from 84 to 88 on his fastball. His other pitches his velocity was up, so his split was harder, his slider was harder and his curveball was harder. That could be part of what's going on. He doesn't have the same arm speed and we have to figure out why.”
In the first inning, Garcia almost got out of a jam. He had two on, with two outs and an 0-2 count to Andy Dirks who quickly and swiftly changed the game with one swing. His three-run home run is even more frustrating to Garcia and the Yankees due to the fact that he was so close to getting out of the inning unscathed.
“For me that's really frustrating,” Garcia said. “I was in the bullpen. To start the game, I don't have my pitches. Normally, I have my split, my slider; today I got two outs, 0-2 again and I'm just struggling. I'm really frustrated.” Garcia added, “For me it's really hard. I like to compete. I'm not competing right now.”
Girardi said of the home-run pitch, “His split just didn't break the way we're used to seeing. It almost cut a little bit and that's not Freddy's split.”
When Garcia was asked if it's a physical issue right now, he emphatically stated, “Physically, I'm fine.”
The issue for the Yankees right now goes a lot deeper than just this start and what they are going to do with Freddy Garcia. The rotation as a whole, thought to be a strength coming into the season, has been anything but that. In fact, if not for the recent hot stretch by the offense and one of the league's best bullpens, this team would not be over .500 for the season.
Coming into the game, the Yankees had only five quality starts in 19 games. That number stays the same in game 20. Once again, a member of the starting staff was unable to give the Yankees length. The Yankees offensive potentcy has allowed this team to have seven comeback wins in their 11 team wins.
Before the game Girardi said of his staff, “We definitely have to do better. There's no doubt about it. I mean, to compete in this division and to compete in this league you have to do better. Our bullpen will get worn out at some point if we continue at this pace, but I believe they will turn it around.”
He's absolutely right. The rotation is now 7-8 and is only averaging 5.1 innings per start. They also are second worst in Major League Baseball with a 6.37 ERA, while allowing a .315 opponent batting average. They also sport baseball's worst WHIP at 1.61 and have allowed a league-high 140 hits in 106 innings.
Once again, the bullpen came to the rescue and kept the Yankees in the game long enough to almost mount a ninth-inning comeback, only to ultimately fall short 7-5. The bullpen has pitched the third most innings in the American League with 73.1.
Girardi is not wrong in stating that this spectacular bullpen could get very worn down, very quick. Bottom line, they need length at the top of the game and they have to start coming up with solutions.
David Phelps has been terrific to start this season, but again it's only game 20 of the season and he already has six appearances for a long man. He is certainly a candidate to make the leap into the rotation if Garcia is taken out after this performance.
“Anytime you have a long man, he's a candidate to be a starter,” Girardi said of Phelps. “That's basically your long man is someone who is a sixth starter at all times.”
Whatever the end game is for Freddy Garcia after this performance, the Yankees will probably make a decision sooner rather than later on his future as well as the future of the 2012 starting rotation.