Rangers fans know how frustrating a talented left hander can be when he's inconsistent -- they have to watch Derek Holland pitch every fifth day. Cardinals fans know that feeling as well with Game 2's starting pitcher, Jaime Garcia.
If you're looking for a quick answer with Garcia's inconsistencies, look no further than his home and away splits. On the road, Garcia is simply awful. Opponents hit .313 off of Garcia in road starts, compared to .230 at home.
Obviously, Game 2 is being held in St. Louis, so it'll be a home start for him. Here's what to look for from Garcia when he's on the mound.
Garcia, like most Cardinals pitchers, isn't going to overpower a lineup. Garcia struck out 156 in 194 and 2/3 innings this year, good for a 7.21 K/9. Garcia, though, does have pretty good command, as he walked just 50 this season.
Of his three postseason starts, Garcia has pitched well in one of them, which, not surprisingly, came at home against the Philadelphia Phillies. Despite getting hung with the loss, Garcia pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on six hits, walked two and struck out three. The three runs came on a pinch hit, three run home run by Ben Francisco -- which just goes to show you how random baseball really is.
In that start against the Phillies, Garcia's go-to pitch was his slider, throwing it 24 times, and generating six swings and misses on it -- triple more than any other pitch.
Garcia started Game 1 of the NLCS against the Brewers, and was bombed on his third trip through the lineup. Disaster was averted in Game 5 of the NLCS, when Garcia gave up seven hits in four and two thirds innings, but it was the bullpen that had to bail Garcia out of a fifth inning jam. Again, it was Garcia's third time through the order when the Brewers were putting together a rally.
In his first LCS start, Garcia relied heavily on his changeup, throwing it 17 times in his brief four inning outing. Garcia did generate five swings and misses off of it, though, but mixed in his slider more in his second NLCS start against Milwaukee.
Like the Cardinals' staff, and pitchers in general really, Garcia needs to pound the strike zone and stay low in it. It's tough to call somebody mentally weak, but Garcia has the tendency to let things snowball once he's frustrated. If he keeps his pitches low and is throwing strikes, it could be a long night for the Rangers.
Patience, though, will be the key for the Rangers and their fans. It's been the third time through the order that has undone Garcia in his last two outings. We'll see if that holds true again tonight, or if Garcia can put together a solid, six or seven inning effort.