Freddy Garcia past 'dead arm' period

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Freddy Garcia past 'dead arm' period

BOSTON -- If it wasn't for injuries to CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte, Freddy Garcia knows exactly where he would still be.

"Oh, I'd be in the bullpen," he said with an honest yet confident smile, following Saturday afternoon's 6-1 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Garcia is now 3-2 with a 5.23 ERA, but Saturday marked his first win as a starter this season, as he allowed just one run on six hits and two walks, while striking out five in 6.2 innings.

After feeling good in spring training, Garcia started the regular season with an 0-2 record and a 12.51 ERA after his first four starts -- all in the month of April. Since then, he's spent the rest of the season in the bullpen, until this past Monday, when Garcia had recovered from his "dead arm" and made his first start since April 28.

"I think if he was a little older I'd be more concerned," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi after Saturday afternoon's win. "But I saw signs in the bullpen from him, that he was throwing the ball better. And Freddy, he was like, 'I'm going to get back.' He was committed to getting back. And he did.

"It's strange when he kind of went --to me -- probably through a little dead-arm period. A lot of times, guys will go through it in spring training. He went through it, I think, in the first month."

In Monday's start against the Tampa Bay Rays, Garcia pitched to a no-decision with 5.1 innings of work while allowing two runs on five hits and two home runs. It was an improvement from April, that's for sure.

And Saturday afternoon was an improvement from Garcia's last start in Fenway, which came on April 21 of this year, as Garcia was pulled in the second inning after allowing five runs on seven hits.

"I'm not thinking about that," said Garcia after Saturday's win. "That happened in April. We're in July, so, I had a bad outing that day, and I can't think about that. I've got to go out there and pitch. That's what I do."

Garcia went out and pitched against a Red Sox lineup that wasn't necessarily stacked in the first of a day-night double-header. But he still took a no-hitter into the bottom of the fourth, until David Ortiz broke it up with a liner off the Green Monster.

Garcia left the game in the seventh inning, with the Yankees having a 6-1 lead. While his offense got off to a hot start by scoring four runs in the top of the first, Garcia credits his performance to his velocity.

He wasn't throwing smoke, but nearly touching 90 was better than what he was throwing in April.

"I felt great today," said Garcia. "My fastball, I located the fastball, I had good velocity today, and a good slider. We got the lead early, and that's all I needed.

"Velocity made my other pitches better," he added. "My slider, my changeup, everything was better, as long as I have more velocity."

Now that everything seems to be going well for Garcia, he opened up about that "dead arm" period following Saturday afternoon's win.

"I was feeling good in spring training," he said. "When the season started, something happened. It's crazy, but, now I'm back, and I feel great."

And the move to the bullpen, well, that ended up working out alright.

"It worked for me," said Garcia. "I was there, with my stuff, ready for every game. And I wasn't pitching that much, but with long tossing and doing my stuff, that's why I feel good now."

McAdam: Price not exactly hitting stride with postseason on horizon

McAdam: Price not exactly hitting stride with postseason on horizon

NEW YORK -- The division title was there for the taking Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. When you've won 11 straight and steamrolled every other team in the division, what's one more?

One too many, apparently.

The Red Sox' 6-4 defeat to the New York Yankees postponed the Champagne party for at least one night. In and of itself, that's not a huge concern. The Sox' magic number remains one with five games to play and the club's epic hot streak had to come to an end eventually.

A better night by either David -- Ortiz or Price -- might have resulted in corks popping and on-field celebrations.

Ortiz was 0-for-5 and stranded a total of seven baserunners. When he came to the plate in the top of the ninth against Tyler Clippard with two outs and two on, it almost seemed scripted.

Here was Ortiz in his final Yankee Stadium series, about to inflict one final bit of misery on the rival Yankees with a three-run homer in the top of the ninth.

Talk about drama. Talk about one more famous, final scene.

Alas, Ortiz took some feeble swings and swung through strike three for the final out. Not even Ortiz, for all his clutch performances, can conjure a game-winner on-demand every time.

A far bigger concern was the work of Price. Perhaps the best thing than can be said of him for now is that he almost certainly will not have to face the Yankees again this season, against whom he's compiled a gaudy 7.89 ERA this season.

More troubling, though, is that Price is not exactly hitting his stride as the postseason appears on the near horizon. In his last three starts combined, Price has pitched 19 1/3 innings and allowed 27 hits and 14 runs.

That isn't the line of someone at peak form at the right time. To the contrary, after a run of outings in which it again appeared Price had figured everything out, he's regressed in his last three.

Most troubling Tuesday was a repeated inability to turn back the Yankees after his team had pulled close on the scoreboard.

Price spotted the Yankees a 3-0 lead, and the Sox finally scored twice in the top of the 6th to close within one at 3-2. But Price quickly gave anther run back in the bottom of the inning.

Then the Sox scored two more times in the seventh to tie things at 4-4. . . but Price gave the two runs right back in the bottom of the inning.

"Very frustrating,'' sighed Price. "It's something I talk about all the time. It's a very big deal. And it's something I feel like I've struggled with this entire year. Whenever you're going good, it's something you're doing very well. And whenever you're going bad...you get a lead, give it right back. . . that's tough.''

It also doesn't portend well for the postseason, where Price, as you may have heard, has a spotty track record.

With some strong starts in the final few weeks, he could have reached the playoffs with both momentum and confidence.

Instead, he's got one more start -- Sunday -- to straighten things out.

Ortiz? His postseason bona fides are set.

Price, meanwhile, has no such reservoir of success upon which to draw. And starts like Tuesday's only reinforce the doubts.

 

Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz goes 0-for-5 in loss to Yankees

Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz goes 0-for-5 in loss to Yankees

NEW YORK -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 6-4 loss to the Yankees:

 

QUOTES:

"I went 0-for-5 today, so I ain't got (anything) to talk about.'' - David Ortiz after turning around and seeing a small army of reporters waiting for him in front of his locker.

"To have a chance to clinch the division for us here (and come up sort), it's not acceptable. If my offense scores me four runs, I feel like I should be able to go out there and win.'' - David Price.

"The bottom line story to this one was (Price) mislocating within the strike zone.'' - John Farrell.

 

NOTES:

* Boston's season-best 11-game win streak was snapped with the loss.

* David Price took his first loss since Aug. 7.

* Price is 1-3 with a 7.89 ERA against the Yankees this season.

* Aaron Hill contributed his first pinch-hit homer in his career.

* Mookie Betts saw his streak of reaching base in 38 straight road games stopped.

* Dustin Pedroia posted his third straight multi-hit game.

* For the 20th time this season, Xander Bogaerts enjoyed a three-hit game.

* In his last 12 games, Andrew Benintendi has eight extra-base hits.

* Hill's pinch-hit homer was the third by the Red Sox this month.

 

STARS:

1) Tyler Austin

The rookie first baseman snapped a 4-4 tie in the seventh with a two-run homer and also added two more hits in three at-bats.

2) Gary Sanchez

The first-year catcher continues to amaze, hitting his 20th homer in only his 51st game, sending the Yanks out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning.

3) Luis Cessa

Cessa took a big step forward from his last start against the Red Sox by keeping them scoreless through the first five innings before allowing two runs in the sixth.