Game 3 Preview: Ace #3 vs. Garcia


I told you, I got this!

Has the momentum shifted to the Cardinals, who return home with Jaime Garcia on the hill for Game 3 on Tuesday? It would appear so… at least on paper.

Of all the Cardinals' starters, Jaime Garcia has the best career numbers against the Phillies – 30 IP, 1.20 ERA, 4 ER, 20 H, 9 BB, 21 K, 1 HR allowed in four starts and two relief appearances (both in 2008). If you created a pitcher from scratch who would give the Phillies trouble, he'd be a lot like Garcia. He's a lefty and doesn't throw overly hard. Instead, he has repertoire of breaking pitches. It's a deadly combination (lefty-junkballer) that seems to work well against the Phillies. Consequently, against everyone else Garcia is a decent starting pitcher, but against the Phillies he's an all-star.

Here are the Phillies' career numbers against Garcia:

Rollins .090 (1-11)

Utley .000 (0-6, BB, HBP)

Pence .214 (3-14, 2B, 3B, HR)

Howard .230 (3-13, HR, 6K)

Victorino .200 (2-10, BB)

Mayberry .571 (4-7, 2B)

Ibanez .333 (1-3, K)

Polanco .181 (2-11, 2B, BB)

Ruiz .000 (0-3, 4BB)


Add it up and those players are hitting a combined .200 with 2 HR lifetime vs. Garcia. 

The Phillies will need to show more patience and perhaps work some walks. And then hopefully bunch those walks with some hits, like they did early in Game 2. I also would expect Mayberry to start in LF since his numbers are a tad better than Ibanez's vs Garcia. So, um, panicked yet?

Well, climb back off the ledge. Garcia has yet to face the Phillies current starting eight in a lineup at the same time, so there's that.  He's also never started a playoff game, so there's that, too. If postseason experience for starting pitchers means anything, the Phils should have an edge there.

Hamels has impressive numbers vs the Cardinals, as Theriot and Berkman are the only hitters in the lineup with good career numbers against him in 10 or more ABs. He has been tagged with some extra base hits and HRs, though. In what figures to be a close, low-scoring game with few base-runners, the long ball is a concern. But overall, Cole has done a nice job vs. the Cards: (in 9 starts) 2-3, 3.27 ERA, 55 IP, 20 ER, 45 H, 10 BB, 56 K, 6 HRs allowed.

And here are the Cardinals' career number vs. Hamels:

Furcal .152 (4-23, 2B, 3K, includes postseason)

Craig .333 (2-6, 2B, HR)

Pujols .181 (4-22, 2B, 2 HR)

Berkman .333 (7-21, 4BB, HBP)

Freese .285 (2-7, 2B, 2K)

Molina .222 (4-18, 2B, 2B, BB, 3K)

Theriot .333 (7-21, 2B, 2B, HR, BB, 4K)

Jay .333 (1-3, 2K)

Holliday .200 (2-10, 3K, includes postseason) – if he plays

Not including Holliday, who is unlikely to start, that amounts to .256 with 4HRs –  better than what the Phils have done vs. Garcia, but still nothing to brag about.

The Phillies have really made things tough on themselves after losing Game 2. And once again, it will be Hamels they rely on to win a near must-win game.  But something tells me if this is truly going to be a championship season, Cole will rise to the occasion.

First pitch is at 5:07.

[Jim McCormick has some scouting and – gasp – advanced metrics on Garcia over at Philly Sports Daily]

16 Responses

  1. I am thinking that the phillies have enough pride that they are sick of hearing how Garcia owns them and will hit him tonight. I hope

  2. “But something tells me if this is truly going to be a championship season, Cole will rise to the occasion.” Couldn’t agree more. If we are truely a championship team we can beat Jaime Garcia, who’s never pitched in the postseason, and Edwin jackson going against our 3 & 4 aces. Even if we lose tonight I still like our chances in game 4 and Doc on the bump at home in game 5.

  3. “Near must-win”
    Games 4 and 5 are Oswalt vs. Jackson, and Halladay vs. Carpenter.
    This is not “near must-win.” Sorry.

  4. ‘This is not “near must-win.” Sorry.’
    Considering a loss means those games by definition are both must win… yes it is.
    I am worried. But I was worried for Game 1 and not so worried for Game 2. I hate series when we don’t already have the advantage.
    But this is post-season. Funny things happen. Sometimes the Phils just knock around guys they can usually never hit.

  5. The Phillies will be just fine if they come out and play the ball we know they can play. They’ve got to be patient with Garica and the hits will start.

  6. Fingers crossed, and psyched for 5pm… is over and Phils are on…happy Tuesday everyone!!!
    Also I blame the Eagles for the Phillies loss Sunday….the stank from the Linc permeated over to the Bank…..Andy go shower!

  7. Sunday nite’s game was going as predicted—Cliff Lee in Magic Steed Mode, Carpenter sucking on short-rest—until that dickhead Jerry Meals caved into La Rusta and started fucking with the SZ.
    So yes, tonight, despite the numbers, anything could happen.

  8. i think that Garcia will be wild, as usual with him, but the problem with the Phils is that they make guys like Garcia look like Fucking Sandy Koufax. Garcia, Sanchez from SF, and a few others. They all makes us look like the 2008 Marlins against Jaime Moyer! The Phils got to stay patient and TAKE PITCHES! (cant say this enough) THIS MEANS YOU JIMMY ROLLINS!!!!

  9. everyone is so worried that we lost one game. this is the playoffs and anything can happen any game. we can turn it on against garcia this game. calm the fuck down everybody.

  10. Phils will win, I just have a feeling folks…same one I had for game 1! Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

  11. olo567 –
    Relating Game 3 of a tied five-game series to anything remotely close to “must-win” terminology is the reason Phillies fans are in panic mode.
    Relax and enjoy it. They won’t lose this series. It’s not close to a must-win game. The only time that term should ever be used is in an elimination game. The Cardinals are also thinking of tonight as a “near must-win.”
    Ridiculous Phillies fans are throwing around the term. Stop, just stop.

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