Jaime Garcia’s quick emergence after coming off the disabled list has helped the St. Louis Cardinals soften the blow of losing Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn to injuries.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny would be even more pleased if his club’s offense quit wasting his quality outings.
The left-hander takes the mound Wednesday night looking to help the visiting Cardinals deal the Miami Marlins their sixth defeat in seven games.
Garcia (2-3, 1.76 ERA) made his season debut May 21 after recovering from shoulder surgery and hasn’t shown any signs of being the oft-injured pitcher who made a total of only 16 starts over the previous two seasons.
He’s stepped up to help Cardinals (46-24) post the best record in baseball and lead the majors with a 2.72 ERA despite Wainwright (torn left Achilles) and Lynn (strained right forearm) being on the disabled list.
Garcia pitched eight innings in a 4-0 win over Kansas City on June 12 before allowing four hits in six scoreless innings of the Cardinals’ 2-1 loss to Minnesota on Thursday.
He walked two after not issuing a free pass in his previous four starts, but that hardly presented a problem. St. Louis has scored either one run or none four times when Garcia is on the mound, losing each of those contests.
"If I were him I’d be pretty confident right now," Matheny said. "Every time he’s going out there he’s taking us deep into games and not giving up many opportunities, and he seems to be able to be one pitch away almost all the time. It’s a rough loss."
St. Louis ranks near the middle of the pack in runs but rallied from an early deficit to beat the Marlins 4-3 on Tuesday. Jayson Heyward homered and Xavier Scruggs had a two-run double in a three-run fourth that tied it before Mark Reynolds’ infield single in the seventh drove in Scruggs.
Giancarlo Stanton’s MLB-leading 26th homer in the first was a two-run shot that traveled 484 feet, matching his longest of the season. The Marlins (30-42) couldn’t hold on, though, and have totaled just 15 runs during a 1-5 stretch.
"When you play a team like the Cardinals, there’s a reason they have the record that they have," manager Dan Jennings said. "When you get leadoff guys on, you have to get them over and get them in. Unfortunately, we didn’t do that."
Miami, which had won nine of its previous 11 at home, now turns to Mat Latos to help it get back on track after he struggled at the end of his last outing.
Latos (2-4, 5.37) had a 3-1 lead and got the first two outs in the sixth at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, but he allowed a double before a tying two-run homer ended his night.
"All game I had a pretty good feel for my two-seamer," Latos said. "I had some good movement on it. (The last) one didn’t move."
The right-hander was much better in his previous outing June 13, giving up one run while striking out 11 in seven innings of a 4-1 home win over Colorado. He went 0-2 with a 10.18 ERA in his first six starts at Marlins Park.
Latos is 4-1 with a 2.31 ERA in his last six against the Cardinals, but he hasn’t faced them since he was with Cincinnati in 2013. Yadier Molina (12 for 31), Jon Jay (11 for 30) and Matt Holliday (11 for 29) have had success against Latos, and Garcia hit a two-run triple off him in 2012.