The Braves acquired veteran right-hander Freddy Garcia from the Orioles for cash in late August to add some rotation depth when Brandon Beachy suffered another setback in his comeback from Tommy John surgery. Now Garcia is slated to pitch Game 4 of the division series against the Dodgers.
“It’s an honor,” Garcia said. “I was in Triple-A last month and probably on my way home, then I got traded. So it’s pretty neat to be here with this team and this bunch of guys together trying to accomplish one thing: win the World Series.”
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez announced Wednesday Garcia had won the job over left-hander Paul Maholm, though Garcia’s body of work had pointed that way for weeks.
Garcia has a 1.65 ERA in six appearances for the Braves, including 2-1 with a 1.83 ERA in three spot starts. He’s allowed only four earned runs in 19 2/3 innings during those starts.
Maholm is 1-5 with a 6.00 ERA in nine starts since July 5, with a .317 opponents’ batting average. Maholm had three quality starts in his previous six outings but had to skip a start because of some elbow soreness.
Maholm was left off the postseason roster completely because Gonzalez said he didn’t want to carry three left-handers in the bullpen with 11 pitchers on the roster. Maholm will go to instructional league to stay in shape in case the Braves need him for the NLCS.
“Garcia has done a decent job,” Gonzalez said. “He’s got some postseason experience, and so we made the decision that way.”
Maholm, 31, has never pitched in a postseason game. Garcia, 36, has made 10 postseason starts while going 6-3 with a 3.28 ERA and pitched the World Series clincher for the White Sox in 2005.
”It’s a different game than the regular season, a different monster,” Garcia said. “The atmosphere, adrenaline, all that stuff - people don’t know if they’ve never been in the playoffs.”
When asked how he’s been able to handle it? “I’m a relaxed guy,” Garcia said. “I’m a real calm guy.”