JAIME GARCIA, ladies and gentleman…the words simply put mean perfection! Or as close as you can get. Friday night Jaime took the mound to face the Milwaukee Brewers, a team that yes is struggling (now with their 7th straight loss), and as free swinging a team right now as there is in the bigs. Couple that with Jaime Garcia’s outstanding control, and performance thus far this year and we were looking at potential greatness. And man did we almost get it!
Going into this game Jaime was already 3-0 with a paltry ERA of 2.48 and has taken the early role of the staff ace with the injury to Wainwright and so far the performance of Chris Carpenter. Jaime was dealing and the Brewers were accomodating freely swing at Jaime’s nasty stuff to the tone of 8 strikeouts, most were swinging at his nasty curve that left Brewers hitters looking frustrated. As many of Cardinal Nation was watching and afraid to talk about for fear of jinxing. I mean I was not living in St Louis when Bud Smith tossed his no hitter in Sept of 2001. For the record I was living cross state, but followed the Cardinals from a-far. So to say I was getting pumped with each out was an understatement. I mean at one point I jumped for joy so loud I scared my cats…my wife had to calm them down and tell them “daddy’s not mad at you”…of course I wasn’t … I was watching history, hopefully, so yes I was getting into it. You knew it was big when MLB Network started showing the game on their live look-ins. And you had to feel that this was going to be good. Not missed on the fact was that the Cardinals offense once again scored 6 runs or more. The offense is really clicking, but tonight was about Jaime. I mean normally the offense would be the star…Albert had 3 rbis. Holliday and Colby each drove in a run…Colby legged out a triple that shows, that when he wants he can show he’s got wheels. Yadier Molina even went deep for his 2nd home run of the season. The defense was solid, but again it was all about Jaime. As Cardinal Nation watched, crossed fingers and breath held Jaime showed the poise, and even got the big guns of the Brewers in Braun and Fielder out, making me think okay we’re almost there. Then and call it sour grapes, but it appeared that the combination of the pressure and an umpire who I thought squeezed Jaime on a couple of the pitches that drew a walk to Casey McGehee, and then forced the infield to play at double play depth which caused end of perfect game and then end of no hitter as Yuniesky Betancourt grounded past the drawn in infield past Cardinals shortstop on what would probably have been a routine ground out. And there it was….But Jaime showed the composure of a seasoned vet, by getting Brewers OF Corey Hart to ground into an inning and rally ending double play. He didn’t rattle, as some pitchers will do. I can’t count how many times on Sportscenter when they showed a pitcher with a no-no, first lose the no-hitter, then lose the shut out and then eventually lose the game. I just did not get that feeling tonight as I watched Jaime Garcia show poise and command out there and then in the ninth with a nice diving grab by late game replacement Jon Jay in RF, he got the remaining outs for the complete game shutout. A shut out that in many people’s eyes was almost more impressive than the perfect game/no hitter. The fact that he bounced back, kept his head in the game and finished the process was nonetheless outstanding! So from all of Cardinals Nation Jaime, Thank You.