Jaime Garcia is starting Game 2 of the 2011 World Series against Colby Lewis, and both pitchers are going in town for a reason. Lewis, an NPB refugee, allowed a league-leading 35 home runs this year, which is not something you want to do at the Ballpark in Arlington; Garcia, the first salvo of the St. Louis Cardinals' rotation youth movement, has an enormous home-away split in 42 starts this year—a 4.61 ERA in 95.2 innings away from home, and a 9-4 mark with a 2.55 ERA in Busch Stadium. That's accurate, and considering Garcia's the Cardinals' second-best pitcher in the first place it makes perfect sense to put him in line to go twice.â†µ
But: The split is driven almost entirely by Garcia's batting average on balls in play, something that tends to stabilize at .300 over long stretches of time—that is, if Garcia really does give up more hits on balls in play away from home for a reason, it'll take a long time to prove that true. For now, it looks like a classic bit of statistical noise: A .271 BAbip at home, and a .374 BAbip on the road. His peripherals are almost identical—more home runs on the road, but more strikeouts and a better K:BB ratio on the road.â†µ
It's most likely that all this talk about Jaime Garcia's comfort level on the road is just an unnecessary attempt to rationalize something random. And even if it isn't, I'd take my chances with Garcia before I would anybody else in the rotation without an alliterative name.