Freddy Garcia must have gotten quite an earful after his last outing (4IP 7ER), because he was a completely different pitcher today. In his first start, he threw off-speed pitches about two-thirds of the time; today, I would guess (without charting the game) he was throwing fastballs for two-thirds of his pitches.
As with his last start, Comcast's radar gun appeared to be a little off. Last time when he was throwing junk, the pitchers who relieved him all showed significantly less velocity that would be expected on the Comcast's readout. Appearing as if they turned it down, almost to mask Garcia's velocity drop. Today, it appeared the opposite was at work. Comcast didn't display a speed until late in the second inning, and then, they almost always seemed inflated. Reports were that Garcia was about 3MPH slower on the Detroit broadcast. The tin-foil hat in me says something funny is going on behind the scenes.
Whatever the reading on the gun, Garcia looked much better. He still made a few mistakes, first hanging a curveball to Craig Monroe, then laying a BP fastball over the heart of the plate to Chris Shelton after he appeared to be pitching around him. But overall, he looked like the Garcia of old.
- Joe Crede should show up on Web Gems again with two more great plays, including another one that popped out of his glove.
- Scott Podsednik carried his poor play at the plate into the field, reading homerun on a Craig Monroe pop-up. He wasn't even within 30 feet of that ball when it landed.
- This was probably the most encouraging win of the season to date.
- Because somebody besides Jim Thome displayed their power.
- Because the bullpen showed up with 3 innings of scoreless ball in a close game.
- Garcia is definitely not injured, just hard-headed.
- Brandon McCarthy was used for two innings, and I wouldn't have minded if he was run back out there for the third. I think Ozzie will come to see that Brandon's value is pitching multiple innings well. He can be used to shorten the game. If he comes in for the 7th, he should pitch through the 8th. If he's brought in for the 8th, I wouldn't hesitate at all to let him finish it. At the end of the year, I want McCarthy to be averaging almost 2 innings per outing from the pen.