In what has become an almost annual ritual here, as we approach the end of April, we have to start being concerned about Avisail Garcia. The White Sox DH is now hitting .156/.240/.311 with a BABIP of .179 and striking out at a 30% clip.
Last night was a particularly bad evening for Avi. Matt Shoemaker struck him out twice and with the bases loaded with one out in the fourth inning, he flied out weakly to right and couldn't advance the runners. Jose Alvarez struck out Garcia a third time in the eighth inning for the golden sombrero. The final strikeout against Shoemaker was pretty illustrative of the problems Garcia is having.
Shoemaker became a two pitch pitcher for this at bat, throwing only sinkers and sliders. Helped by the umpire called strike on the first pitch, Shoemaker followed it up with a second sinker right down the middle of the zone. After Garcia fouled off a third sinker up and in, Shoemaker switched to sliders away to finish Garcia off. This is not necessarily a unique strategy against Garcia though.
When pitching against Garcia, Jose Alvarez got ahead quickly with two inside fastballs. He followed that up with a slider way outside. Finally, he finished him off with the Tom Seaver special -- a changeup inside at the knees.
Obviously, Garcia is struggling at the plate, but getting fooled by two pitchers that barely break 90 mph with their fastballs is becoming all to common. Also, the strategy being used isn't something innovative or strange. Pitchers aren't afraid to throw inside fastballs to Garcia to get ahead early. Once that's done, it's a steady diet of offspeed and breaking pitches outside the zone. This is an approach you'd expect pitchers to use on a rookie, not a guy that's been in the majors a few years.