SAN DIEGO -- Jaime Garcia has time to restore the promising trade value he possessed less than two weeks ago. But his past three starts have created reason to wonder if the Braves might have waited too long to deal him.Garcia's stock took another big hit as he extended his
SAN DIEGO -- Jaime Garcia has time to restore the promising trade value he possessed less than two weeks ago. But his past three starts have created reason to wonder if the Braves might have waited too long to deal him.
Garcia's stock took another big hit as he extended his struggles against right-handed batters and surrendered two more home runs in Thursday night's 6-0 loss to the Padres at Petco Park. The veteran left-hander allowed four earned runs or fewer in each of his first 12 starts of the season, but he has been tagged for six earned runs in each of the three starts that have followed.
"We've seen him so good," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He's just got to get back on track and consistent, a whole-game type of consistent. He can't let a whole inning get away. He's got to hit his spots and all of those things you have to do to be successful. He's capable of that. Hopefully, he's just in a little rut right now."
Garcia entered his June 17 start with a 1.49 ERA over his previous five starts. He seemed to be extending this promising trend as he held the Marlins scoreless through the first four innings in that game. At the time, it seemed as if maybe the Braves were playing their cards right, hoping an increase in trade value would enhance the offers they were receiving at the time.
But then the Marlins produced a five-run fifth and dramatically altered the landscape. As Garcia has allowed 18 earned runs over his past 12 innings, he has struggled to command his two-seam fastball and locate down in the zone with the same consistency he did when he produced a 58 percent ground-ball rate through his first 12 starts.
Garcia has produced a 46.9 percent ground-ball rate over his past three starts, and has allowed five home runs within a 12-inning span. He had surrendered seven home runs through the 81 innings that preceded this frustration-filled stretch.
"I've always said in order to use my pitch effectively, I need to be in the bottom of the strike zone," Garcia said. "I've got to get ahead. Sometimes you fall behind and try to throw a strike, instead of executing in the bottom of the strike zone."
Over his past two starts, Garcia has allowed right-handed hitters to go 12-for-33 with five doubles and three home runs. William Myers and Hunter Renfroe added to that homer total on Thursday night. Myers drilled a 1-0 changeup over the left-field wall in the third inning. Renfroe crushed another 1-0 changeup 444 feet over the center-field wall in the fifth inning.
"I'm just making mistakes," Garcia said. "Mentality-wise and physically, I'm putting in the work and doing everything I need to do. It's just about making that pitch and executing that pitch. There's no excuse. I take a lot of blame on myself."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.