I was sorta surprised when the Braves cut Freddy Garcia, seeing as though they were down a couple of arms and Garcia had pitched pretty competently this spring. Then Aaron Harang took his place and has been pretty fantastic so far, so what the hell do I know?
And that question is doubly apt given that, apparently, the rest of Major League Baseball is giving a miss to Garcia. Chris Cotillo reports:
Veteran right-hander Freddy Garcia is close to signing with an undisclosed team in Asia, according to major league sources. It is currently unclear which country the 37-year old will be heading to, but it appears as though he will be leaving the U.S. after being released by the Braves at the end of spring training.
Garcia said that he wanted to start, so this may be the only opportunity he has to start someplace. Or the money may be great.
Or, though Garcia said after his release that he was eager to spend some time with his wife and newborn baby, maybe he realized a month later what all of us parents figured out the hard way: being around newborns is a special circle of hell and if someone gave us the opportunity to leave the continent for the few months between their birth and the time they’re sleeping through the night, well, we’d all take it too.
The Yankees and Astros are set for Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday, and neither team will hold back as they seek a World Series berth. The Astros are prepared to back starter Charlie Morton with any able-bodied pitcher in their ranks — including Justin Verlander, though A.J. Hinch said it would be a “dream scenario” to get anything more from his ace — while the Yankees are prepared to utilize all but a few of their arms. One pitcher you won’t see? Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who last took the hill for the Yankees during their Game 5 shutout on Wednesday.
Tanaka expended 103 pitches over seven scoreless innings in his last start, fending off the Astros with three hits, a walk and eight strikeouts. He hasn’t pitched on fewer than three days of rest all year, and even with a do-or-die scenario facing the Yankees on Saturday night, manager Joe Girardi doesn’t want to compromise his starter’s ability to stay rested and ready for the World Series.
Girardi will also play it safe with fellow right-hander Sonny Gray, who dominated in a five-inning performance in Game 4. All other pitchers should be available and ready to go, though the club is hoping for a lengthy outing from veteran starter CC Sabathia. Sabathia is no stranger to the postseason: over eight separate playoff runs, he touts one championship title and a collective 4.24 ERA in 123 innings. He held the Astros scoreless in his Game 3 start, blanking them over six innings on three hits, four walks and five strikeouts for an eventual 8-1 win.
Even without Tanaka or Gray likely to take the mound for Game 7, the Yankees will enter the series finale with history on their side. Per MLB.com, they have a 4-3 road record in Game 7s and are 6-7 in all 13 Game 7 finales to date. The Astros, on the other hand, dropped their first and only Game 7 clincher back in 2004, when the Cardinals capped the NLCS with a 5-2 win in St. Louis. The teams are scheduled to face off for the first-ever Game 7 at Minute Maid Park on Saturday at 8:00 PM ET.