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Freddy Garcia extended his quality start streak to four by meeting the bare minimum in his victory over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.
In the process, he likely extended his stay on the South Side into 2010, especially considering he was Ozzie Guillen’s first choice for a fifth starter before his second W of the season.
Sure, there’s a lot of time for collapse, or injury, but barring either of the aforementioned events, picking up his $1 million option is a no-brainer at this point. I mean, it’s the same price as Bartolo Colon’s one-year deal, and while Garcia has the same injury-riddled history, at least his track record doesn’t include disappearing into fat air.
If there’s one area for concern, it’s that a good September isn’t necessarily indicative of a good start next season. In 2006, Garcia was incredible down the stretch, going 4-0 with a 1.73 over his last five starts, including a pair of back-to-back eight-inning, one-hit performances.
The next year for Philadelphia, he started the year on the DL, put together a similarly adequate stretch of pitching, and then was done for the season.
There is a distinction: Garcia the Junkballer introduced himself rather late in the ’06 season, and his lack of velocity for Philadelphia the following year still surprised some people. Everybody knows what they’re getting now — lots of curves, sliders, splitters and changeups.
(To that end, he’s throwing fastball less than 40 percent of the time this year. Even with Philly, he was near the 50 percent mark.)
Garcia seems to mesh well with Ozzie Guillen. Guillen has a good handle on Garcia’ s prima donna tendencies, managing his big-game bravado while keeping him from getting into trouble late in games. Hell, Garcia looks like the quintessential team player in comparison to Colon’s stubborn obtusity.
For me, the greatest thing about Garcia’s resurgence is that he and Gavin Floyd are successful for the Sox at the same time. The Sox traded Garcia to Philadelphia for their No. 2 starter, then re-signed him to be an effective No. 5 after ineffective stints for two different teams. Toss in the fact that the Sox received the third player in the deal, and that, my friends, is a fleecing.
The Sox will give their new fourth starter a shot this coming weekend, as Jake Peavy is slated to start against Kansas City:
Peavy is expected to be on a pitch count, considering his last two bullpen sessions were the equivalent of throwing four innings or so and could get the yank at about the 70-75 pitch mark.
”I wanted to put everything to rest a lot quicker, but the bottom line is that I just wasn’t able to do that,” Peavy said. ”I can tell you that I did everything I possibly could do, and [Don Cooper] as a pitching coach and these trainers absolutely worked their tails off to get me as healthy as I could be.
”I don’t expect to be 100 percent. I’m not 100 percent. I would be lying if I told you I was.”
We’ll see what this not-fake bulldog is made out of, but I’m going to guess that Peavy at 85 percent is better than Carlos Torres at 105 percent.
Two items of good news in the War Against Detroit:
No. 1: They lost 11-1 to Kansas City.
The Sox are now 5 1/2 games back of the Tigers, and only a game behind in the blueprint I laid out last week.
No. 2: Magglio Ordonez triggered his $18 million option.
Ordonez isn’t as bad as Alex Rios has been for the Sox, but $18 million for a .405 slugging percentage from a corner spot is still a gross overpay.
And if Rios can continue to flag down flies like he did late in Tuesday’s game, he won’t need to hit like an All-Star to live up to his lesser contract. That was one sweet route.