When Leuri Garcia entered the field in the ninth inning with a chance to win the first run of the game, he took a fairly simple approach.
“Bring the boys in,” Garcia said. “I know that (Camilo Doval) is a pretty good pitcher. Everyone knows this and he has some pretty good stuff. So I tried to put the ball in play and put the guys in.”
Calling Doval’s stuff “pretty good” is an understatement. His average fastball speed is the second fastest in the game this year at 100.5 mph. Same with his boat at 99 mph. After those two pitches, Doval launches a slider at 89 mph with a mileage value of -12, which is the seventh most efficient in the league.
It was the slider that Leuri tied to the right margin for White socks’ winning hit, and catching up with the field was no small feat. Garcia was clearly happy to help his team in this situation, but after the game he decided he was just putting together a good ball like he always tried to do. However, his manager was a little more enthusiastic, describing the great success.
“He’s a famous player and he had a lot of success and it was a big hand,” Tony La Russa said. “He is special. I mean, it was huge for us.
“In this situation, two outs, two hits on you, against an outstretched arm, that’s the best it can be.”
Garcia was bogged down in one of the worst seasons of his career, and on Friday night he hit .193/.220/.260 with two homers and 12 RBIs. He had 41 strikeouts in just six walks. But in 10 seasons with the White Sox, Garcia has earned the trust and admiration of his teammates. They hope this is a good sign for him.
“It was amazing,” said Lance Lynn. “He had a bit of a fight earlier this year and he’s not going to shy away from it… so if he gets that hit, hopefully it takes a load off his shoulders. Now he can just relax and go play, be the player we all know him.”
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