(Busch Stadium) Following his outing of just 1.2 innings–the shortest of his career–St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jaime Garcia was at a loss for what has been the cause of his recent struggles.
“I’m trying between starts to figure out what’s going on,” he said. “Whether it’s push things a little bit more or back off on things. All I can say is that I’m doing everything that’s in my control to be the best that I can for my team. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to do that. I’ve let my team down, but I’ve been through tough times before and all I can say is that I’m going to continue to do what’s in my control to continue to fight and be there for the team.”
But that may be in a different role, as Mike Matheny wasted little time calling in Alex Reyes from the bullpen as Garcia got into a bases loaded jam in the 2nd inning.
“It’s hard–especially after only giving up a couple hits there, maybe three at that point,” said Matheny of the decision. “We were up against the wall–that’s the swing point of that game. Alex did something special to get us out.”
Something special was striking out Kris Bryant with the bases loaded to keep the Cubs from scoring. Reyes would pitch out of a bases loaded jam again later in the game–finishing with a line of 4.1 scoreless innings, 1 hit, 6 walks, and four strikeouts.
Was the performance enough to change how the team views Reyes moving forward?
“He had a great day today, that’s how we look at Alex moving forward,” he answered. “We’ll figure that out later.”
But the answer seemed to be more clear later in the press conference as he was asked if it was a difficult decision to have Garcia start tonight.
“To start him today?” Matheny asked back. “No–keep trying to get it right. Gave him a chance to get out there. Gave him a start like I told you five days ago I was going to.”
However, the tone quickly changed when the follow up question was if he expected Garcia to start again.
“We’ll see,” replied Matheny.
As impressive as the outing was for Reyes, it also illustrated how the rookie is continuing to work on his consistency. The six walks issued were a single-game season high for the Cardinals this year.
“Once again, he didn’t give up anything,” reminded Matheny. “It’s a learning process, but I think we’ve got to get back to the fact that this kid came into a real tough situation and he pitched lights out. Gave up some room, but when he got in trouble, it was lights out. And he had swing and miss stuff when he had to have swing and miss stuff.”
The game on Tuesday was the 29th start of the season for Garcia, the most he’s made since 2011 and he acknowledged that he could be dealing with some fatigue. It’s been five years since he’s been able to reach this kind of workload. And as disappointed as he was in his own performance, he kept his eyes on the bigger picture.
“At the end it worked out for the team,” Garcia stated. “We needed a win here. Reyes did an unbelievable job and the biggest thing is that we won the game. For me, I’m very disappointed. I’m very disappointed in myself.”
photo credit: Bill Greenblatt/UPI, Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports