2. Luis Garcia has a weak track record as a postseason starter
In fairness to Garcia, his postseason career only spans 17.2 innings. He deserves a chance to redeem himself on the big stage at some point, and Cristian Javier has only ever been used as a reliever in the postseason. However, if it’s an either-or situation, the Astros should opt for something they’ve never tried instead of trying something that has failed in the past year and use Javier as a starter in the postseason while Garcia assumes a relief role.
In 5 starts in the 2021 postseason, Garcia posted an ugly 8.04 ERA. This includes the eventually decisive game 6 of the World Series, which the Astros lost at home. He averaged just over 3 innings in those starts and had at least one bad outing in each series. He may have been facing some of the best hitters on the planet and it was his first go-around as a regular in October, but he didn’t prove much of anything in that stint.
Again, it was as a reliever, and he got hit even harder than Garcia did in the World Series, but Cristian Javier didn’t allow a run in 3 appearances against the White Sox and Red Sox in the first two rounds. Even despite his rough World Series performance, he finished the 2021 postseason with a 3.37 ERA. He also pitched well in the unorthodox 2020 postseason as a rookie, posting a 2.89 ERA across 5 relief appearances that year.
They may have been in different roles, but Javier has been a more effective postseason pitcher than Garcia. This matters when deciding who to move to the bullpen because part of the reason the Astros are doing this is to gradually shorten the amount of rest pitchers have between starts. Rest is something they won’t have in the postseason.
Another way to look at this, though, is to simply compare each pitcher’s performance while they’ve both been starters.