Jaime Garcia had a stretch of five really good starts between mid-May and mid-June, allowing just six earned runs. Since then, though, the winds have blown bitterly for him. Two starts ago, the Marlins thrashed him for six runs; last Thursday, the weak-hitting Giants mauled him to the dissonant tune of another six runs, forcing him to leave without completing the fifth.
Put that together with his earlier work, and Garcia has a highly-generic aggregate pitching line that includes a 4.03 ERA, 4.39 FIP, and 4.34 xFIP. He hasn’t been bad, but he also hasn’t been particularly good, and time is running out for him to increase his potential trade value ahead of next month’s Trade Deadline.
24-year-old Dinelson Lamet will be making his seventh career start tonight against the Braves for San Diego. Strikeouts have always been his calling card, as he’s struck out over a quarter of the hitters he’s faced at every minor league stop. That figure has actually increased in his short major league stint, and his current K% is 32.3 percent.
However, strikeouts aren’t enough, and Lamet has struggled overall. A big part of the issue is that he’s allowed eight homers in six starts, and those homers (and other run-scoring hits) have tended to come at inopportune moments. His strand rate of 48.5 percent is ridiculously low, and he can’t wriggle out of jams unless he gets a strikeout, because his groundball rate is relatively tiny at just 29 percent. As such, he has a 6.60 ERA in those six starts, and the 5.01 FIP isn’t encouraging either. More encouraging, though, is a 4.05 xFIP, which is considerably below the FIP because of Lamet’s 19 percent HR/FB ratio.
Lamet’s most recent start was likely his best so far, as he held the Tigers to three runs (two earned) in six innings, while striking out five. It was his only career start so far where he did not allow a homer, but it also featured very few groundballs. It should be a fun test for the Braves, if they can do some damage around the strikeouts Lamet will probably rack up.
Atlanta Braves at San Diego Padres
June 29, 2017, 9:10 pm ET
Petco Park, San Diego, CA
TV: MLB Network (out of market only), Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM, Braves Radio Network