When you’re part of the same starting rotation as Zack Greinke, Lance McCullers Jr. and Framber Valdez, it’s easy to get overlooked.
Luis Garcia seems perfectly fine working in their shadows with the Houston Astros.
Garcia is scheduled to make his 20th start of the season on Saturday night, facing the Los Angeles Angels in the second game of their three-game series in Anaheim, Calif.
Garcia (8-6, 3.29 ERA) will look for the 51st win by a Houston starter this season, the most in the majors.
Greinke did his thing on Friday night, tossing seven shutout innings in a 4-1 Astros win in the series opener.
Greinke has 11 wins, McCullers has nine and Valdez has eight this season.
Next up is Garcia.
In two of his four starts since the All-Star break, he has thrown six shutout innings. He accomplished that feat in his most recent outing on Aug. 7, blanking the Minnesota Twins on two hits with eight strikeouts in a 4-0 win.
One of the impressed onlookers was Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli, who was especially in awe of Garcia’s offspeed capability.
“He’s not just spinning balls in the middle of the plate,” Baldelli said. “His breaking balls are pretty sharp. He can get ahead with it, get swings and misses with it. Guys don’t see it very well. He’s a good pitcher, you know. His ability to manipulate the ball is very good.”
Houston manager Dusty Baker was impressed with Garcia’s stamina in his most recent outing.
“Usually, he gets to the 80-pitch mark and tends to lose something,” Baker said. “Usually, that’s in the fifth or the sixth, and he got through the sixth.”
Garcia is 0-1 with a 4.30 ERA in four career games (two starts) in his career vs. the Angels. Three of those four outings have come this season, including both starts.
The Angels plan to counter with right-hander Jaime Barria, who has pitched into the seventh inning in all three of his starts since rejoining the rotation on July 25.
Barria (2-0, 4.21) shut out the Oakland Athletics for 6 2/3 innings on July 31, earning the win in the 1-0 victory.
Barria returned to the mound a week later and took a 3-2 lead into the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers before exiting after giving up a game-tying homer to Cody Bellinger. The Angels eventually lost 5-3.
“I really need to work on being more aggressive in my bullpens so that it’ll translate to the first inning,” Barria said through an interpreter. “I’ve been getting off to slow starts.”
Barria has made nine career appearances against Houston, including eight starts. He’s 1-3 with a 4.36 ERA.
The Astros could get a key player back in their lineup. Yuli Gurriel has been out since Aug. 4 because of neck stiffness, but he made the trip to Anaheim.
“We were hoping (Friday), but he wasn’t quite ready,” Baker said. “He’s day to day and hoping for (Saturday).”
Gurriel is hitting .324 with 12 home runs and 66 RBIs this season.
–Field Level Media