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Reaction: NLCS Game 1

Jamie Garcia is a talented pitcher. 

Jamie Garcia will only be a back of the rotation-esque pitcher if he can’t be mentally tougher.

Both of these statements are true. And you’ll find around the water cooler today that these two statements will be made in various tones and iterations. Some will blast Garcia for getting spotted a 3 run lead and immediately surrendering it back. Others will claim that he’s just a young guy who was hung out to dry by his manager. But battles lines will be drawn. The arguments will happen.

Let’s all agree on this: Tony LaRussa probably shouldn’t have let Garcia face Ryan Braun in the fifth inning. He’d already gotten tagged for a monster cock shot in the first. Octavio Dotel was warm in the bullpen and had struck out Braun 6 of the 8 times he’d faced him. But TLR stuck with his starter and got burned for a 2 run ground rule double.

Ok. That’s why the managers get the big bucks. If Garcia gets Braun out, maybe it emboldens him to get out of the inning with at least a 1 run lead for the Cardinals still intact. He didn’t, though, and with Prince Fielder up, Garcia HAS to be taken out. Miller Park was losing their collective shit and the Brewers have been stellar at home, partly feeding off the crowd.

1 pitch. Fielder crushes the off-speed pitch over the left field wall. Game over.

Twitter was reporting that that’s the fastest a ball has traveled off a bat in the majors all season long. And while I have no reason to doubt that, I really don’t know how to check that either.

It’s of little matter.

Garcia had an opportunity to atone for his start in the NLDS. He didn’t. He had an opportunity to show people that he doesn’t crack when the pressure mounts. He didn’t. He had an opportunity to break through in a big way. He didn’t.

Not to say he won’t at some point. Like I said, he’s still young. Probably ahead of schedule from where the organization had him. Problem is, every game is a pressure cooker in the post-season and Garcia is kind of a slow-roast kind of guy.

Mix the two and you’re going to get, well, cooked.

Stud: David Freese. Guy could have been the hero again with Pujols getting shown up in Game 1. But his 3 run shot will go down as one of the biggest non-impactful home runs in NLCS history for the Cardinals.

Dud: Jamie Garcia. Got the run support he needed on the road and could only go 4+. Looked worse after Carps brilliant performance in Game 5 of the NLDS.

Bottom Line: The Brewers are insanely good at Miller Park, but the Cardinals will have to win at least 1 game, and probably 2 there to advance to the World Series. They blew a good chance in Game 1 and will have to double down the efforts in Game 2.

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