If Freddy Garcia threw any slower Tuesday night, he'd have been tossing the "La Lob" pitch of Dave La Roche infamy.
Yeah, the dad of Adam and Andy La Roche, who once was thought by Cubs management to throw at Nolan Ryan speed. Hah!
Well, the only speed at The Cell Tuesday night was the supersonic pace of the rockets slammed off Garcia, including three Twins homers in the second.
Ozzie Guillen said beforehand he would not jigger his rotation for better matchups. And he'd probably never fiddle with in-law Garcia, who certainly earned his nickname "Sweaty Freddy" in the humid climes.
But watching the merciless Twins pounding of Garcia as they swiped first place from the Sox, it's apparent Garcia cannot effectively pitch against a good-hitting team. He has to possess Maddux-ian control and movement. He doesn't, despite the pre-game praise of him from the likes of Jim Thome.
In his last three starts against the Twins, Garcia has given up 28 hits and 11 runs in 15 1/3 innings. That won't get it done. And that's why with the newly-harnessed Edwin Jackson in tow, Guillen has to put aside personal relationships and switch Garcia and Jackson in the rotation. Jackson moves up to mainstay status, Garcia moves down to the back end.
The race with the Twins will go down to the wire, despite the downer result of Tuesday night, the worst thumping the Sox have received in recent weeks. Guillen needs to put his best foot forward with his rotation. The Twins have a superior lineup even without Justin Morneau. Only the starters with the best stuff should face the blood rival.
That's what good managing is, just like a player -- making adjustments. Garcia has been a good story with a 10-5 record. But he seemed like a house of cards ready to topple over. The art of slowball can only work on some occasions and against some teams, Jamie Moyer's success notwithstanding.
The Sox were indeed fortunate to land Jackson, who apparently has corrected a modest mechanical flaw working with pitching coach Don Cooper. Improved control in his two Sox starts has been the result. Jackson can flat-out pitch. He came in the nick of time.
Guillen's job now is to not waste time and make the Jackson-Garcia switch.