Nerves, anxiety, and adrenaline are a few of many emotions that flood the mind and body of an athlete before, or even during, a big game. None of these, it appears, are present within New York Yankees right-handed pitcher Deivi Garcia as he prepares to take the mound Sunday for his fifth MLB start.
At a quick glance, Sunday’s game may not have the same caliber of stakes as a typical Yankees-Red Sox game. The Yankees have won 10 consecutive games, and they now are in full command of a playoff position. Additionally, they are 9-0 in 2020 against the Boston Red Sox, who sit at the bottom of the AL East.
However, a win Sunday officially clinches a spot in the postseason for the Yankees. Garcia gets the opportunity to continue his early success while making his first start in Fenway Park, the former home field of his childhood idol, Pedro Martinez.
“He’s a legend here,” Garcia said. “A lot of exciting games here at the stadium. My dad even told me about all those great games.”
To stand on the same mound as his favorite player with an opportunity to secure a spot in the postseason can be a lot of to take in for a 21-year-old rookie with 24 2/3 innings of MLB experience.
The opposite is the case for Garcia. He remains calm ahead of Sunday’s start, and this is a trait that he has had since he was a child growing up in Bonao, Domincan Republic.
“It goes back to when I was a little kid,” Garcia said. “My family tells me that that kind of patience and sureness of doing things, I showed at an early age, and that I look like my grandpa. So, it probably comes from him. It’s a trait that I have, and it helps me deal with different situations.”
Garcia has received unwavering support from his family throughout his early successes. They watch every game, and they put together and send clips of him striking batters out.
Even long before his MLB debut, his dad would train him and act as his manager back home. As a result, he has always been one to give Garcia advice. Ahead of Sunday’s game, he reiterated a simple message his dad has given him.
“He told me to go out there and do the best you can for your team and represent your team,” Garcia said.
So far, he has done just that, and that is a trend that he hopes continue on Sunday.
It is no secret that Deivi Garcia has pitched well since he made his MLB debut. Although it is a small sample, it is an impressive stretch that he has put together.
He is striking out roughly one batter an inning while keeping his walks down. The end result being a K/BB of 6.00 to go along with a 3.28 ERA, 134 ERA+, and 0.973 WHIP.
Arguably the biggest start that Garcia made came against the Toronto Blue Jays on September 9th. The Yankees were coming off a five-game losing streak, having dropped to a .500 record. He was the stopper and pitched seven innings that night, allowing two runs on five hits with zero walks. The Yankees won that game 7-2, starting their current 10-game winning streak.
Manager Aaron Boone credits Garcia’s success to his command and ability to fill up the strike zone, but his stoic calmness while pitching still stands out to his teammates.
“He’s a competitive pitcher with his confidence,” third baseman Gio Urshela said. “….you don’t feel like he’s scared or anything like that…It’s fun to watch him pitch.”
From childhood to MLB, Deivi Garcia has never let the moment get too big, and that has been apparent at the start of his career. This demeanor helps his on-field performance, and it will be a factor Sunday as he digs his cleats into the same mound that Pedro Martinez did for seven seasons with the opportunity to lock in the Yankees’ fourth consecutive trip to the postseason.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images