New York Yankees
As the clock ticked closer to 4 p.m., marking the end of the trade deadline, Freddy Garcia kept trucking along, giving the Yankees more and more quality innings.
On a day in which the Yankees ultimately did not make any trade deadline moves, partly because of how well Garcia and fellow starter Bartolo Colon have pitched, the veteran rewarded the team's faith in him by picking up his 10th win in a 4-2 victory against the Orioles Sunday.
"I wasn't really paying attention. That's not my job," Garcia said of the deadline and him being a reason the team didn't make a deal. "Bartolo and I, we're really happy we're still here and we try to continue to pitch and win some games."
Signed in spring training to compete for the fifth spot in the rotation, Garcia has seized a spot in the rotation and has not let go. He's now 10-7 on the season with a 3.22 ERA, which gives him the second-most wins on the squad and the second-lowest ERA among team starters.
General Manger Brian Cashman said he had low expectations for Garcia and Colon before the season and viewed them as low-risk, high-reward players, and so far, the Yankees have done nothing but reap the benefits of those signings. Colon is 8-6 with a 3.30 ERA.
"He hasn't put himself in a situation to lose a job," Cashman said of Garcia. "He knows how to pitch, he's not afraid and those are two important aspects when you place yourself in this market."
Sunday, with his splitter working well, Garcia navigated the Orioles lineup with relative ease. He struck out four of the first five batters, all on swinging strikeouts, and ended up with six strikeouts total.
While the Orioles struck first in the third inning to take a 1-0 lead, Garcia gave up just one run the rest of the way and left the game with his team leading 4-2. He has now won three straight starts and is 6-2 in his last nine starts.
With the win, it also improved Garcia to 54-23 (.701) in afternoon games, which is the highest average among players according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Closer Mariano Rivera said he joked with Garcia that the starter has to pitch every game in the daytime from now on.
"I don't know, maybe because the players go out and they don't have enough rest. I love to pitch day games, " Garcia said of his daytime success. "Always been that way, I love to pitch day games. I don't know, that's the way it is."