St. Louis Cardinals' starter Jaime Garcia has dealt with a variety of shoulder issues over the last few seasons, but the lefty returned to the Cards' rotation this past May, following another surgical procedure last summer, and in spite of missing time with a groin injury, made 20 starts for the Cards, over which he was (10-6) with a 2.43 ERA, 3.00 FIP, 30 walks (2.08 BB/9) and 97 Ks (6.73 K/9) in 129 ⅔ IP.
Cardinals' manager Mike Matheny talked yesterday about what's changed for Garcia since he's come back from all the injury issues.
"I think the stuff's pretty similar, maybe the consistency of the stuff has improved," Matheny said. "I think just like with anybody else, you go through enough adversity, you're bound to grow from it if you're paying attention, and he pays close attention; he's a sharp guy. I think through all the things that he's been through, just like any of us, you have a greater appreciation for things like health and opportunity, and you realize that this stuff is so rare to have these opportunities; and I think he's just grown, I think, in just a natural way, because he has had quite a few set-backs and quite a few things that he's had an opportunity to learn from.
"With that being said, the stuff is very similar, though, the sinker, the deception, it's all just about him being able to be out there on a consistent basis, which, you know, that lends to going in the direction of consistency as well."
Tonight in Game 2 of the NLDS, in Busch Stadium, Garcia and the Cards face off against Chicago Cubs' right-hander Kyle Hendricks, who finished the 2015 campaign (8-7) in 32 starts, with a 3.95 ERA, 3.36 FIP, 43 walks (2.15 BB/9) and 167 Ks (8.35 K/9) in 180 IP.
Matheny talked today about how familiarity will factor in since Cards' hitters have seen Hendricks while not many of the Cubs' hitters have seen Garcia since he hasn't faced the Cardinals' divisional rivals yet this season.
"That can work for you and against you," Matheny said. "Jaime hasn't seen them either, so it goes hand in hand and it's just a matter of making adjustments. And you never know what you're going to get day to day and Hendricks has been throwing the ball well lately, so we know he's feeling good about his game and our guys are going to have to go up with an approach to try to stay one step ahead. That's what it is; it's cat and mouse and who is able to stay one step ahead."
Who'll come out on top in Game 2? The Cardinals and Cubs go back at it again at 5:30 PM EDT in St. Louis...
|CHICAGO CUBS||ST. LOUIS CARDINALS|
|Dexter Fowler - CF||Matt Carpenter - 3B|
|Jorge Soler - RF||Stephen Piscotty - RF|
|Kris Bryant - 3B||Matt Holliday - LF|
|Anthony Rizzo - 1B||Jason Heyward - CF|
|Starlin Castro - 2B||Jhonny Peralta - SS|
|Austin Jackson - LF||Brandon Moss - 1B|
|Miguel Montero - C||Yadier Molina - C|
|Kyle Hendricks - RHP||Kolten Wong - 2B|
|Addison Russell - SS||Jaime Garcia - LHP|
Garcia vs the Cubs:
Hendricks vs the Cardinals: