BOSTON (CBS) — Game 2 was absolutely brutal for Astros rookie Luis Garcia. He gave up five runs, done in by a grand slam and three walks, and he recorded just three outs before leaving with what the team dubbed a knee injury.
Just six days later, the 24-year-old was a whole lot better.
In the first couple of innings, Garcia was hitting career highs in fastball velocity with regularity. ESPN’s Jeff Passan noted that Garcia threw the four hardest pitches of his MLB career through the first two innings.
Luis Garcia's stuff is ticking way, way, way up tonight. Like 3 full mph. Already he's thrown the four hardest pitches of his major league career, including one at 97.8 mph. And after a season in which his fastball averaged 93.3 mph, he's sitting at an average of 96.3 tonight.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 23, 2021
After Garcia recorded the first out in the top of the fourth inning, the Fox broadcast noted that Garcia had already thrown 21 fastballs of 96 mph or faster. He threw 17 such pitches in 155.1 innings during the regular season.
How such a thing is possible — for a pitcher coming off an injury, no less — is anyone’s guess. But the rookie right-hander clearly had some extra oomph when taking the mound with a chance to atone for Saturday’s brutal start.