The St. Louis Cardinals have redefined the words "short leash" so far in their improbable 2011 World Series run, and in spite of their bullpen's recent fallibility Jaime Garcia, their Game 6 starter, is likely to get even less slack in a potential elimination game, with Tony La Russa's favorite situational relievers rested twice over by Wednesday's rainout. Through three innings Garcia has struggled relative to his brilliant Game 2 start, allowing two earned runs and proving unable to command the breaking pitches that confounded the Texas Rangers in those seven scoreless innings.
Garcia, for all the worries about his command that emerged in midseason after a string of five-inning starts, had an outstanding regular season in 2011, walking just 2.3 batters per nine innings. At his best his breaking pitches are still out of the zone—they're just thrown while he's ahead of the count and cause swinging strikes in the dirt. That's the Garcia the Cardinals will need to see—and the only one that will keep them from pulling him before even five innings are out tonight.