Ahead of a must-win World Series Game 6, the St. Louis Cardinals have lost three of four games sophomore southpaw Jaime Garcia has pitched in the 2011 postseason, but for all that he remains the most dependable starter on the roster not named Chris Carpenter. It's weird—after a season in which Garcia was looked at with suspicion for reasons that didn't seem especially valid he's earned the fanbase's trust almost by default on a much bigger stage.
Almost by default, that is—Garcia's last start, in Game 2, was outstanding and compromised only by the Cardinals' offense, and of his two four-inning starts only one ended because of his incompetence; the other, Game 5 against Milwaukee, involved five strikeouts, no walks, a single run, and 68 pitches, but by that time it wasn't the Cardinals' rotation's job to pitch the sixth inning anymore.
Back in the World Series—well, he'll be asked to do it again. The bullpen has lost its air of invincibility and the Cardinals' offense has sputtered to a stop in four games out of five in this bizarre World Series of alternating blowouts and boredom.
The good news is that Jaime Garcia has pitched like a number-two starter all season—if we're finally seeing him that way it's out of necessity, but it's inadvertently a totally reasonable position anyway. In 2011 Garcia cut his walk rate by a third, maintained his strikeout rate, and continued to get groundballs at an impressive rate. He does everything you can do as a pitcher, including slam the occasional extra-base hit—which could be important if people don't start hitting.