As the starting rotation continues to find depth, the Houston Astros are receiving longer outings from Luis Garcia. On Sunday, the right-hander worked through six innings on 79 pitches. Garcia fanned eight batters, matching a career-high, while also allowing one run on three hits and two walks.
Garcia continues to advance with his cutter and slider, as the two pitches look to be his best go-to punches. While adding to his changeup and curveball, the right-hander has progressed the most through the 2021 season compared to any other Astros’ pitcher. While filling the role as a starter, Garcia has found himself staying in the rotation for now, before expecting a start in the bullpen.
With Luis Garcia excelling, the right-hander makes a case for an All-Star selection.
For pitchers, it stands a different case of being selected to the All-Star Game. While the American League is expected to be managed by Tampa Bay Rays’ manager Kevin Cash, we can only hope him and his crew are keeping their eyes on Garcia. The Astros can help influence a selection as well, but for fans including myself, we don’t have a say.
More from Climbing Tal's Hill
- Just how much better is the Houston Astros playoff rotation than the rest?
- Houston Astros: A Lineup Change to Spark Offense
- Astros prospect Hunter Brown throws 6 shutout innings in debut
- Always faithful Astros World Series champion Josh Reddick defends the title
- Michael Conforto declines Astros’ 2-year, $30 million offer
The right-hander was yanked early on Sunday, which came as a surprise with Garcia in cruise control. With left-handers coming up, the Astros went to Brooks Raley. With all the rest the bullpen has had over the last week, Garcia and starting co. have offered a fix to the struggling late-inning arms. Ryne Stanek entered the eighth inning and allowed two runs, while command is still an issue, but Ryan Pressly closed it out with his ninth save.
Through 12 games (10 starts) in 2021, Garcia has posted a 2.75 ERA with 68 strikeouts to 19 walks. The right-hander has immensely jumped over that five-inning threshold that many starters aim for. Since May 10, Garcia doesn’t have a start of less than five innings, and in relation to starts since May 25, he doesn’t have one less than six innings.
This progression has not only boosted his own stock but has kept bullpen arms quiet. Garcia improves through the order and has a granted a .189 opponent batting average this season. In the eyes of advanced metrics, Garcia is above average in most categories.
The Astros are hoping to activate Michael Brantley on Tuesday. They start a three-game set at Fenway Park with the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday at 6:10 p.m. Framber Valdez will get the ball to open the series against left-hander Martin Perez.