During the winter, Freddy Garcia’s signing was looked upon as a stop gap measure intended to tide the Yankees over until reinforcements could be acquired in the summer. However, when the clock struck 4:00 PM, all was quiet on the trade front, meaning the veteran right hander will now be counted upon to help the Yankees reach the finish line. If Garcia continues to pitch as well as he did today, the Yankees should be just fine.
Leading up to the trade deadline, which passed during the eighth inning, there had been a lot of speculation about the Yankees acquiring another pitcher. However, lost amid the trade talk was the fact that the Yankees currently lead the American League in ERA+, and a big part of that has been Freddy Garcia. In fact, by limiting the Orioles to two runs over six innings, the soft tossing right hander recorded his 14th quality start, and eighth in his last ninth games. Along with fellow veteran retread Bartolo Colon, Garcia has not only helped hold down the fort, but lessened the need for reinforcements.
Garcia’s quality outing was not only a symbolic comfort for the Yankees, but a vital part of winning the series finale against the Orioles. One day after scoring a combined 25 runs in a doubleheader sweep, the Yankees’ bats were a little sluggish in the early going. Over the first three innings, the Bronx Bombers squandered two bases loaded opportunities, but the third time proved to be a charm in the fourth. After Eric Chavez walked to lead off the frame, Russell Martin hit a routine groundball right at Baltimore shortstop J.J. Hardy. It should have been Martin’s 16th double play of the season, but instead, the ball rolled under Hardy’s glove and set the stage for Brett Gardner’s bases clearing triple two batters later.
The Yankees wound up scoring four runs in the fourth, but they also lost their shortstop. One inning earlier, Derek Jeter was struck on the right hand by a pitch from Jake Arieta, but only when his next at bat rolled around was he forced to exit the game. Because of a lack depth on the bench, Francisco Cervelli was sent to play second base for the first time in his professional career, which must have had Brian Cashman reaching for his phone, if only for a moment. However, X-rays on Jeter’s finger were negative, and the Yankees dodged a bullet (also known as Eduardo Nunez’ throwing arm).
Following the four run outburst, the Yankees’ offense went dormant, but the combination of Garcia and three relievers was more than enough to lock down the game. In particular, David Robertson was summoned with two outs in the seventh to retire Hardy, who came to the plate as the tying run. Then, as an encore, Robertson plowed through the middle of the Orioles lineup in the eighth by striking out the side. All that was left was for Mariano Rivera to polish off the game and the homestand, which the Yankees finished at 7-3.