It seems like the general consensus in yesterday's comments section was that Freddy Garcia pitched well against the Jays. I didn't quite see it that way, however.
What I saw was a pitcher who is beginning to resemble El Duque -- and I don't mean that as a compliment. -- In the past, Garcia has been known to pitch to his competition. He has trouble with teams like the Royals, yet will dominate if the stage is right -- a duel with Johan Santana, Felix Hernandez, Carlos Zambrano, or any other pitcher from Venezuela, for instance. Game 4 of the World Series also comes to mind.
The point is, Garcia is trying to get by with as little effort as possible. He's that guy in college who shows up for the first day of class, collects his syllabus, and only shows up for tests, all while still getting a better grade than you.
That may have worked last year. It might even work a few times this year, as it did on Sunday. But in the long run, especially in this division, it's going to hurt the team. This division is going to come down to the last week of the season. It may very well be decided by how often we were able to beat up on the Royals. We're going to need Freddy's best effort for his remaining 30 starts this year.
I don't blame Freddy for the 4 runs in the 5th. If the Sox didn't have a 6-run lead to begin the inning, the tarp already would have been on the field. That inning was emblematic of his attitude though. With a 6 run lead, knowing full well that all he needed was 3 outs to get a victory, Freddy threw mostly breaking balls and nibbled all inning, walking 3... Until, a routine groundball got by Iguchi in part because of the playing conditions. So what does Garcia do next? He struck out Eric Hinske to effectively end the game on three straight fastballs, of course.
Ozzie Guillen was reportedly upset with Garcia after the game, not because he seemed to be featuring his off-speed stuff, but because of the way he reacted to Iguchi's error. Don Cooper says they're trying to figure out why Garcia "has trouble getting loose" on occasion. I would suggest having a good psychologist on retainer.
Mark Buehrle, who previously has been told by Kenny and Ozzie to refrain from his slip and slide routine, once again took a couple of swan dives on the infield tarp. This time the Sox threatened a fine. It's unclear if it's just a hollow threat, but you've gotta love a pitcher whose biggest injury concern revolves around his rain delay activities.