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."

Quotes, notes and stars: 'Unfortunate situation at a key moment'

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Quotes, notes and stars: 'Unfortunate situation at a key moment'

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 10-9 loss to the Blue Jays:
 
QUOTES
*“We’ve seen Hanley [Ramirez] catch that ball multiple times...An unfortunate situation at a key moment.” John Farrell said of the final play of the game.
 
*As soon as I let it go I thought he was out...I feel like that game kind of slipped away from us.” -Travis Shaw said of his throw in the final play of the game.
 
*“Everybody was so excited on the bench. We’d lost the lead and to have him come through in that situation . . . It was huge.” -Hanley Ramirez on David Ortiz’s go-ahead homerun in the ninth inning.
 
*“We’re a strike away on a number of occasions . . . you watch the attack plan all day long right-handers with curveballs were having success against [Justin] Smoak.” -Farrell said of the bullpen’s performance and Smoak’s ninth inning hit off Craig Kimbrel.
 
*“If he makes an accurate throw he’s out.” -Farrell on Christian Vazquez’s errant throw in the ninth inning.
 
*“In some key spots we gave an extra 90 feet when otherwise we have not of late.” -Farrell said about Boston’s inability to execute late in the game.

NOTES
*Xander Bogaerts has hit safely in his last 21 games, extending his streak with a home run to lead off the fourth inning. He’s hitting .402 with five home runs during the streak. Bogaerts logged his ninth three-hit game of 2016.
 
* Dustin Pedroia extended his hitting streak to five games with his first-inning double. Pedroia has also hit safely in his past 22 games against Toronto. He’s hitting .444 during the short streak.
 
*David Ortiz extended his own hitting streak to six games with a double in the fourth. He's hitting .520 over that span.
 
* Russell Martin logged his fifth multi-hit game of the season -- and first three-hit game -- smacking a double and a home run. Martin entered the game batting .179 with three extra-base hits.
 
 
STARS
1) Russell Martin

Not only did he score the winning run, but he also tied the score in the ninth and launched a home run earlier in the game.
 
2) Xander Bogaerts
Another threre-hit performance, extending his hitting streak to 21 games, Bogaerts keeps creating headaches for opposing pitchers.
 
3) Rick Porcello
On a day where pitchers from both side scuffled, Porcello’s 6 2/3-inning effort gave Boston more than enough of a chance to win. 

First impressions: Big trouble for Red Sox bullpen

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First impressions: Big trouble for Red Sox bullpen

First impressions of the Red Sox' 10-9 loss in Toronto:
 
Rick Porcello was back in top form.

Despite the matchup at the Rogers Center being less than favorable for Porcello, and the righty not at his best of late, he held a streaking, dangerous offense at bay for 6 2/3 innings (four runs, seven hits) before the bullpen coughed up two leads. 

While Porcello hasn’t performed poorly of late, there’s no question he hasn’t been at his best -- so it’s good to see him have a consistent feel for his pitches.

The bullpen might be in trouble Sunday.

With Junichi Tazawa struggling, Craig Kimbrel throwing a season high 39 pitches and Matt Barnes pitching in both games this series, the bullpen won’t be at it’s best for the final game in Toronto. So, if there were ever a time for David Price to throw like a true ace, Sunday would be it.

Tommy Layne proves again that he’s not trustworthy.

With a four-run lead, and only needing to get two batters out, Layne couldn't get an out in the eighth, allowing two runs on two hits and starting something not even Kimbrel (who gave up leads in the eighth and ninth after being called on for a five-out save) could stop. The lefty specialist may have entered the game with an ERA below 3.00, but his results are inconsistent.
 
Umpire Mike DiMuro’s injury changed the tone of the game.

The home plate umpire took a hard foul ball off the center of the mask, delaying the game for several minutes and forcing Brian Gorman to call the game behind the plate.

And with that came an inconsistent strike zone. Both sides were frustrated by his inconsistency with his zone. Porcello had two pitches stopped due to late timeout calls. Marcus Stroman was almost allowed to quick pitch Hanley Ramirez twice in the same at-bat.

The crew got it right removing DiMuro from the game, but Gorman was bad in relief.
 
David Ortiz getting doubled up in the fourth inning can’t happen.

Darwin Barney showed some range, getting to Jackie Bradley, Jr.’s soft line drive up the middle, flipping the ball to second quickly after to get Ortiz. This comes a night after Hanley Ramirez got double up off a screaming line drive.

There’s a difference between the two though. Ramirez had no time to react. Ortiz had all the time in the world. Even though Papi’s speed hasn’t become enhanced in his old age -- unlike his power -- that was a rally-killing play he could’ve prevented.
 
Don’t sleep on Dustin Pedroia.

Between Ortiz’s farewell tour and the youth rising, Dustin Pedroia continues to perform well under the radar.

He went 2-for-4, lacing two doubles off Toronto’s ace, Marcus Stroman. Pedroia is hitting .309. He’s not the only player being overlooked, but he’s definitely received the least amount of attention in Boston’s power-packed lineup.