For his second straight start Elniery Garcia won an elimination game to allowed his team to play one more meaningful game this season.
Last Friday night it was a regular season elimination game for the Clearwater Threshers to qualify for the Florida State League Playoffs. Garcia picked up the win by allowing only one run over seven innings to keep them in the playoff hunt but for just another game.
This Friday night it was an Eastern League playoff elimination game with Reading down 2-0 in a best of five series. Garcia was again up to the task as he pitched six innings and allowed only two earned runs until Reading could put away the game, 13-5.
Garcia is finishing the 2016 season strong. In his last three starts he has pitched 20 innings, allowing 12 hits, 4 earned runs while walking only 5 and striking out 22.
The 21-year-old lefty has come of age in the biggest games of the season by winning his final three games and going 13-4 for the season.
Last night in a must win for Reading to avoid an end to the season, the second inning was the key inning in the game. After Reading took a 1-0 lead over Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre after the first inning, Garcia came out in the top of the second to strikeout the side in turn on only 13 pitches. It was “must see baseball” on MiLB-TV last night for Baseball Betsy and me.
He used his big 12 to 5 curve balls early in the counts and then put the three batters away with his mid-90’s fastball, twice to two left-handed batters and a slider to a right-handed batter. This was the most important shutdown inning of his five years in the Phillies system.
By going 2-0 in two straight elimination games, Garcia has shown he is a “big game” pitcher. He thrives on pressure. Since he will be eligible for the December Rule Five Draft, he, no doubt, has clinched a spot on the Phillies 40-man roster to avoid the Draft. And he has the stuff right now to pitch on the 25-man major league roster sooner than later.