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Jaime Garcia Returns To The Cardinals' Rotation Sunday; Here's Why That Matters

The St. Louis Cardinals will get Jaime Garcia back on Sunday, after a long and ill-defined shoulder injury. He's 3-4 with a 4.48 ERA, and at 25 he no longer feels like the Next Big Thing, which is to say that fans are probably not as excited about this as they might have been a year ago. But they should be, and here's why:

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  • He's having a pretty good year anyway. Worse than last year, about even with his rookie year, but in 11 starts I'm hesitant to get that granular; when he got hurt, his peripherals were basically what we expected them to be. No breakout, but certainly not a 4.48 ERA. His xFIP is third on the team—really tied for second, with Lance Lynn—behind only Adam Wainwright.
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  • The Cardinals need arms and innings. They've given almost 20 to Barret Browning and that's seemed, by and large, like a good idea. Jaime Garcia pushes your boy Joe Kelly into the bullpen, where he can soak up some of those innings while throwing almost 100 miles an hour.
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Jaime Garcia is weirdly boring now—all the troubles with W-L record and the weird non-control-problem-control-problems have continued past the point where the novelty subsided. But that doesn't make him good, or potentially better-than-good in the future—it just makes him kind of boring.
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