Elniery Garcia entered Friday’s game against the Brevard County Manatees with a 2-0 record and 0.00 ERA. He allowed his first run of the season, but pitched seven, three-hit innings before turning a 1-1 game over to the bullpen. Jesen Therrien closed out the Manatees and the Threshers pushed across a run to notch their 11th win.
Garcia went 7.0 innings. He breezed through the first three innings, retiring the first nine batters. Garcia allowed his first base runner leading off the fourth inning, a single by the Manatees speedy center fielder Johnny Davis. Garcia picked Davis off first base but he was able to avoid the tag at second. A sacrifice moved Davis to third and Garcia gave up his first earned run of the season when a ground ball to short went under Malquin Canelo’s glove. Garcia bore down and got the final two outs on the next two pitches.
Garcia came out determined in the fifth inning. He struck out the side on 11 pitches, 10 strikes. Garcia gave up his second hit of the game when Davis lined a ball over Cord Sandberg in right field with one out in the sixth. The ball bounced cleanly off the wall and the speedy Davis was thrown out at third on good throws by Sandberg and Scott Kingery. That running mistake was magnified for Brevard County when the next batter singled.
Garcia finished off his night with two more strike outs in the seventh. His line –
- 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 81 pitches, 62 strikes.
Garcia is an extremely quick worker. Often the 15 second pitch clock would turn off with 8 seconds left. Manatee batters occasionally would request time to get set, but I saw the Threshers catcher call time twice as Garcia began his motion. Both times the stoppage was granted. The second time came on an 0-2 pitch with two outs in the seventh. The at bat lasted another 6 pitches and Garcia reached his only 3-ball count during the at bat.
Garcia threw 81 pitches, 62 for strikes (76.5%). He didn’t walk a batter, and only had the one three-ball count.
The stadium gun failed on 20 (24.7%) of Garcia’s pitches. He threw 29 fastballs between 92-94 mph. He hit 94 mph seven times including three consecutive pitches for a strike out in the second and on his 75th pitch of the night in the seventh inning, for a swinging strike. During the game I saw a Tweet from Matt Winkelman that 94 mph is a new high for Garcia.
Garcia struck out a seven batters, 5 of them of the swing-and-miss (S&M) variety. His strike outs came on –
- a 94 mph FB swinging in the second,
- a 79 mph CB looking to end the third,
- a 74 mph CB swinging in the fifth,
- a pitch of unknown velocity looking in the fifth (he was firing in the fifth, none of the pitches registered in this at bat, it looked like FB, FB, FB – 93 and 94 aren’t out of the question for these 3 pitches, the batter took all 3 pitches),
- a 93 mph FB swinging to end the fifth,
- a 72 mph CB swinging to lead off the seventh,
- and a 93 mph FB swinging for the second out in the seventh.
Garcia’s pitches by inning were as follows –
- 11 pitches, 8 strikes, 3 balls
- 6 pitches, 5 strikes, 1 ball (included his first strike out)
- 11 pitches, 8 strikes, 3 ball
- 11 pitches, 8 strikes, 3 ball
- 11 pitches, 10 strikes, 1 ball
- 13 pitches, 11 strikes, 2 ball
- 18 pitches, 12 strikes, 6 ball (and his only 3-ball count)
Here’s a breakdown of Garcia’s pitches (other = hits, outs, and errors). I didn’t see his earlier two games.
- Pitch 4/22
- Swing 14, 22.6%
- Called 11, 17.7%
- Foul 20, 32.3%
- Other 17, 27.4%
- Strikes 62
Of the 14 S&M that Garcia induced, 8 came on FB (94, 91, 92, 93, 92, 91, 93, and 94). Four came on CB (74, 72, 72, and 72). And one came on an 84 mph pitch (CH?) and another came on one that didn’t register, but I remember thinking change when I saw the pitch.
Garcia threw first pitch strikes to 16 of 24 batters (66.67%).
Jesen Therrien came on in the eighth. He committed the cardinal sin for relievers when he walked the lead off batter, a sub-.150 hitter in the seven hole. The Manatees duly sacrificed the go-ahead run into scoring position. Therrien got a strike out and a ground out to end the inning.
He returned to the mound in the ninth with a one run lead, and got a quick out on his second strike out. The next batter buried a ball in the hole between short and third. Canelo ranged far to his right and back handed the ball. With little to no chance to get the batter, he threw a grenade up the first base line. Kyle Martin left the bag as soon as the errant throw left Canelo’s hand to keep the runner from advancing past second. The next batter lined a single to center. Carlos Tocci charged the ball and threw a one-bounce strike to catcher Gabriel Lino to cut down the runner at the plate. Lino had a sneaky, nice block on the play. After a bouncer back to Therrien, the game was over.
The ninth inning was a real roller coaster. He got the first batter to strike out swinging. The next batter lifted a line drive over Kingery and Green into right for a single. The third batter hit a ball sharply on the ground to Zach Green at first. Green bobbled the hot potato briefly and scooped and fired late to second base., allowing the tying run to come to the plate. (First mental error, I think.) The next batter hit a shot to Walding at third. He raced to the bag for the force out and fired wildly to first. (Second mental error, maybe, and an error. I think the 5-4-3 double play might have been the better option.) So, two out runners at second and third, tying run at the plate in the person of Daytona’s clean-up batter. Therrien retired him on a ground ball to short.
This is the second game where Therrien maintained his composure when things didn’t go as expected for him or behind him.
The defense was solid except for Canelo’s two errors. Sandberg’s and Tocci’s outfield assists as well as Kingery’s assist that cut down base runners were exceptional.
But, this game didn’t have to come down to defensive heroics. The Threshers outhit the Manatees 8-5, out walked them 6-1, and had a batter hit by a pitch. In the first five innings (when the collected ALL of their hits, the Threshers stranded 10 men. They had runners in scoring position with nobody out in the third, fourth, and fifth innings. They had a runner on third with nobody out in the fourth and fifth. They loaded the bases in the third and fourth. They scored no runs in the third, fourth, and fifth innings.
They did score a two-out run in the first inning. After Sandberg made the second out of the inning on a drive to the wall in left that required a great catch by the fielder, Tocci ground a single to center. On a hit-and-run, Tocci reached third on Martin’s line drive single to right. Mitch Walding’s RBI single to right scored the first run of the game.
It looked like the Threshers were going to pay for blowing their early scoring chances when they were completely shutdown by the Manatees’ bullpen. Walding’s single with nobody out in the fifth after a Martin steal of second was the last hit for the Threshers. With runners on the corners and nobody in the fifth, they saw nine batters retired in succession.
Zach Green led off the eighth by getting hit by a pitch. Drew Stankiewicz was brought in to pinch run. Canelo put down a sacrifice bunt and was rewarded with a base when the pitcher threw the ball away. Lino walked to load the bases. Pinch hitter, Herlis Rodriguez struck out and the Manatees were poised to escape again. But, Scott Kingery worked a walk to force in the go ahead run (his first RBI of the season. Canelo was cut down at the plate on a fielder’s choice before Tocci drove a ball into the right center field gap that Davis ran down with a diving catch. But Therrien made the one run stand up.
The box score and recap for the game is here.
Extra Innings –
- Kingery stole his 5th base.
- With Walding on third in the fifth, Canelo tried a safety squeeze that rolled foul.
- Martin stole second (his first) on a 3-1 pitch with Walding at the plate.
- Walding went 2-3.
- Sandberg’s hit was a well-executed bunt.