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It’s fitting that Freddy Garcia lowered his ERA to 4.50 in helping the White Sox toward their 11th one-game winning streak of the season on Tuesday.
That, of course, is the ERA for meeting the bare minimum of a quality start, and that’s almost what Garcia guarantees every start. Going back to last season, he has delivered 13 quality starts over his last 16 outings. One of the starts that didn’t make the cut? Six innings of four-run ball.
The quality start isn’t the soundest stat in the world. It overlooks the most important peripherals in evaluating minor-league pitchers, and it lacks oomph for the pitchers making $10+ million a year. But for a fifth starter like Garcia, whose job entering the season was to not suck? It pretty much nails his worth, especially since he hasn’t allowed an unearned run since joining the Sox.
Seven of eight times out, Garcia has gone deep enough into games while putting the Sox in a position to win. It’s nice that it’s starting to reflect well in his personal win column, as he’s notched three straight victories.
(And thanks to some offensive support, we finally got an idea of what Ozzie Guillen might want to do with his bullpen in the late innings. Sergio Santos in the seventh, J.J. Putz in the eighth, and Bobby Jenks (or Matt Thornton) in the ninth. That’s pretty formidable, especially if Putz keeps throwing the splitter he had today.)
We can treat Memorial Day like the halfway point of his season. We knew he could pitch with the fading bats in late August and September. We now know that he can hang in the early cool months just fine. The middle two months are the only mystery. He hasn’t seen June since 2007; he hasn’t seen July since 2006. He didn’t handle summer well in either case.
Still, I’m looking forward to finding out what he has left. And if he responds well to the heat, the Sox have an interesting decision on their hands come July and beyond.
This stretch has an odd feeling. Two games with the Twins, three with the Royals, one with the Tigers, and now it’s on to two with the Los Angeles Angels before three with the Florida Marlins. That’s almost spring training like in terms of continuity.
The short series has one big benefit this week, though — a lack of Jered Weaver. Weaver is 4-0 with a 0.52 ERA and a 0.72 WHIP in five career outings against the Sox, but he pitched on Tuesday.
So the Sox continue their good fortune of missing other team’s biggest guns:
- Kansas City: Zack Greinke, twice.
- New York: C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett.
- Seattle: Felix Hernandez.
- Detroit: Justin Verlander.
Christian Marrero Reading Room:
*Jermaine Dye is reportedly enjoying his stay at home and not working out, which contradicts his agent’s reports earlier this season (hat tip to MLB Trade Rumors).
*Speaking on behalf of the bullpen, Scott Linebrink says the players are there, and they have to perform.
*Oral Sox has a new podcast up.
Minor league roundup:
- Charlotte 8, Buffalo 6 (11 innings)
- Dan Hudson regressed a little: 5 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 1 HR.
- Dayan Viciedo doubled three times during a 4-for-6 night.
- C.J. Retherford went 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI.
- Jordan Danks went 1-for-6 with an RBI. No K’s.
- Tyler Flowers was hitless over five at-bats, walking once and striking out twice.
- Montgomery 3, Birmingham 2
- Brent Morel went 2-for-5 with two RBI and two strikeouts. He was picked off/caught stealing.
- Christian Marrero went 1-for-2 with two walks and a strikeout.
- Winston-Salem 2, Myrtle Beach 0
- Charles Leesman’s best start of the season: 7 IP, 6 H, 0 BB, 2 K. He also got 13 groundouts.
- Jon Gilmore singled twice and struck out twice.
- Brandon Short and Eduardo Escobar were each held hitless in four at-bats.
- Kannapolis 4, Hickory 3 (Game 1, 7 innings)
- Andre Rienzo struck out six over three innings in his first A-ball start, but allowed three runs on four hits and two walks.
- Nice game for Trayce Thompson — a single and two walks.
- Brady Shoemaker tripled and drove in a run; Nick Ciolli also went 1-for-3.
- Hickory 5, Kannapolis 2 (Game 2, 7 innings)
- Bad game for Trayce Thompson — three strikeouts in three at-bats.
- Kyle Colligan (two K’s), Shoemaker (two K’s) and Ciolli (one K) each went 1-for-3.
- Miguel Gonzalez went 0-for-1 with a walk.
- Joe Serafin allowed one earned run on three hits and two walks over six innings. He struck out one.