Imagine what a difference it would make if we possessed the kind of technology that could accurately predict meteorological patterns and impending precipitation. If only the evil consortium of local weather outfits hadn’t monopolized said scientific advancements in the name of a predictive arms race. But alas, we’re forced to live in a world in which the Cubs and Nationals were delayed 81 minutes before playing one inning of baseball and then having the game delayed again and eventually postponed.
Not only did Friday’s asininity do nothing to alleviate the strain of the Cubs playing 23 games in as many days, it forced them to burn Jon Lester for no good reason. What’s more, the postponement mean playing a Saturday double-header with an emergency starter.
Jaime Garcia, who signed a minor league deal with the Cubs on August 31, will be taking the bump in Game 1 of the twin bill. The 32-year-old lefty was released by Toronto in late August after a disappointing campaign, but the Cubs were hoping a change of scenery and targeted usage would allow him to better leverage his excellent performance against lefty hitters.
While that’s still the plan for the remainder of the season, and perhaps the playoffs, Garcia represents the best-case scenario for a team that needs to find ways to keep both the rotation and the bullpen fresh. How well the former Cardinal will be able to do that is a concern, since he hasn’t started a game since June 19 and hasn’t completed as many as two innings since July 25.
And if you want even more bad news [cue ominous music], the only time Garcia went more than one inning in his last nine appearances, he allowed six runs (five earned) on six hits and two walks.
But on the flip-side, that outing and the one that preceded it represent the only runs Garcia has allowed since July 15. In fact, he’s only given up one hit while striking out 12 and walking four over 11.1 innings otherwise. And he’s held lefty batters to a .050/.095/.100 slash with seven strikeouts and one walk in that time, including the two bad appearances.
As unlikely as it is that he’ll be able to either maintain those numbers over the course of a start, or that he’ll even be able to go deep in the game, Garcia does still have some tricks in his bag. So who knows, maybe this will be one of those wild games we look back on like, “Oh man, remember that one time when they stupidly forced the Cubs to burn Jon Lester and then Jaime Garcia stepped in to out-duel Max Scherzer?”
Oh, did I forget to mention that Scherzer is going for the Nats in this one? Hooray, baseball!