On Friday afternoon, veteran right-hander Freddy Garcia took the hill for the Padres once again, hoping to rectify a poor performance last time out. In his last outing on February 24th, Garcia allowed 5 fives (4 earned) on a 34 pitch first inning. It’s safe to say that he didn’t see the 2nd inning. On Friday, he was called upon again for the start but this time he made it through the first inning, but that’s about it. In the third inning, he was tagged for 3 runs on 4 hits and was pulled.
For the spring thus far, Garcia has pitched 3.2 innings and has an ERA of 17.18. Opponents have a .450 AVG off of the thirty-six year old. Garcia has a career record of 152-101 and a career 4.15 ERA. He’s never finished a season with a sub-3.0 ERA, coming up just short in 2001 with a 3.05. At one time, Garcia was an 18-game winner, a World Series Champion, a two-time All-Star and a team MVP. He even finished 3rd in the Cy Young voting in 2001. Last season he posted a 7-6 record and a 5.20 ERA.
Enter Casey Kelly.
Kelly is one of the top pitching prospects for the Padres. During his time in the minors, he’s racked up a record of 21-18 with a 3.77 ERA. He was called up for a stint in late August last season and made his debut on August 27th, picking his first career victory. In the win, he threw 6.0 scoreless innings and only allowed 3 hits, 2 walks, and struck out 4. He went on to finish 2012 with a record of 2-3 with the Padres and an ERA of 6.21 after a rough September.
Both Garcia and Kelly are battling for a spot at the back-end of the Padres rotation. After rough outings, Garcia seems to have lost the command of his fastball, a pitch he’ll need to get back on track if he wants to have success with his famous change up. Kelly, after getting tagged for 3 runs on 7 hits in just 1.2 innings of work his first time out, looks to be settling in.
So what do the Padres do? Do they go with the experience? Or is it “move over old dog ’cause a new dog’s movin’ in”?