The Cardinal Nation blog

Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Garcia on Fernando’s rookie track

St. Louis Cardinals rookie Jaime Garcia’s 2010 start invokes memories of another left-hander from Mexico who made his MLB debut 30 years ago, Fernando Valenzuela.

Fernando as a Cardinal, 1997 Choosing to ignore the St. Louis Cardinals ugly loss to Houston on Tuesday night, I will look ahead to Jaime Garcia’s next start at Cincinnati on Friday night. The rookie left-hander has a 3-2 record with a 1.18 ERA over his initial six starts.

Having done even better than textbook quality starts, Garcia went six or more innings and allowed two or fewer runs all six times here in 2010. (The quality start is three or fewer runs yielded.)

Tom Orf went back and found that Garcia is only one of three MLB rookies since at least 1952 to start a season with six or more of these games. The record over that time is eight, co-owned by Fernando Valenzuela of the 1981 Dodgers and Joe McIntosh of the 1975 Padres.

Oddly, all three pitchers began their streaks in their 11th career outing.

Cardinals fans would hope Garcia mimics the career of fellow Mexican lefty Fernando, who went on to win 173 games over 17 seasons rather than McIntosh, whose career ended after that season with an aggregate 8-19 record.

At the other end of his long career, Fernando concluded with the 1997 Cardinals (pictured above), having joined the club via trade that June. He went 0-4 in five starts and was released in July. Valenzuela would not appear in the majors again.

Is it too early to suggest “Jaimemania?”

Rookies to start season with a string of games going 6+ innings and allowing 2 runs or less, MLB, since 1952

Fernando Valenzuela
1981 17.2 Prev IP
Gcar Gtm Date Tm Opp Rslt Inngs Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR
11 1 Apr 9 LAD HOU W,2-0 SHO W(1-0) 9 5 0 0 2 5 0
12 5 Apr 14 LAD @ SFG W,7-1 CG W(2-0) 9 4 1 1 2 10 0
13 8 Apr 18 LAD @ SDP W,2-0 SHO W(3-0) 9 5 0 0 0 10 0
14 12 Apr 22 LAD @ HOU W,1-0 SHO W(4-0) 9 7 0 0 3 11 0
15 17 Apr 27 LAD SFG W,5-0 SHO W(5-0) 9 7 0 0 4 7 0
16 22 May 3 LAD @ MON W,6-1 GS-9 W(6-0) 9 5 1 1 0 7 0
17 27 May 8 LAD @ NYM W,1-0 SHO W(7-0) 9 7 0 0 5 11 0
18 32 May 14 LAD MON W,3-2 CG W(8-0) 9 3 2 2 1 7 2
Joe McIntosh

1975 37.1 Prev IP
Gcar Gtm Date Tm Opp Rslt Inngs Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR
11 3 Apr 12 SDP CIN W,3-2 GS-8 W(1-0) 7 6 2 2 6 4 0
12 8 Apr 18 SDP @ ATL W,3-1 GS-9 W(2-0) 8 5 1 0 1 4 0
13 13 Apr 23 SDP LAD W,7-1 CG W(3-0) 9 5 1 1 3 5 0
14 19 Apr 28 SDP HOU L,1-4 GS-7 L(3-1) 7 8 3 2 0 2 0
15 24 May 3 SDP @ LAD W,3-1 GS-8 8 4 1 1 0 7 1
16 29 May 9 SDP @ CHC L,2-5 GS-6 L(3-2) 6 5 3 2 1 2 1
17 34 May 16 SDP CHC W,8-2 CG W(4-2) 9 6 2 2 1 1 0
18 39 May 21 SDP STL W,1-0 SHO W(5-2) 9 8 0 0 0 4 0
Jaime Garcia

2010 16 IP Prev IP
Gcar Gtm Date Tm Opp Rslt Inngs Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR
11 5 Apr 10 STL @ MIL W,7-1 GS-6 W(1-0) 6 4 1 1 3 5 0
12 11 Apr 17 STL NYM L,1-2 GS-7 7 1 0 0 2 5 0
13 16 Apr 23 STL @ SFG L,1-4 GS-6 L(1-1) 6 7 4 2 3 2 0
14 21 Apr 28 STL ATL W,6-0 GS-7 W(2-1) 7 4 0 0 1 5 0
15 26 May 3 STL @ PHI W,6-3 GS-6 W(3-1) 6 3 1 1 4 6 0
16 31 May 8 STL @ PIT L,0-2 GS-6 L(3-2) 6 7 1 1 2 7 0

Because someone will probably ask, Tom also pulled the three rookie pitchers with at least six such games at the start of their individual season, not that of their team. Jared Weaver of the 2006 Angels had seven starts, while Steve Rogers (Montreal, 1973) and Dave Righetti (1981 Yankees) each had six.

Rookie pitchers with streak at start of their season not their teams, MLB, since 1952.

Dave Righetti

1981 17.1 Prev IP
Gcar Gtm Date Tm Opp Rslt Inngs Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR
4 38 May 23 NYY CLE W,3-2 GS-8 W(1-0) 7 4 2 2 3 7 0
5 43 May 29 NYY @ CLE W,5-2 GS-9 W(2-0) 8 3 2 1 4 3 0
6 48 Jun 3 NYY BAL W,2-0 GS-9 8 8 0 0 3 8 0
7 53 Jun 8 NYY @ KCR W,8-3 GS-7 W(3-0) 7 8 2 2 0 5 0
8 58 Aug 11 NYY TEX L,0-1 GS-6 L(3-1) 6 6 1 1 1 9 0
9 63 Aug 16 NYY @ DET L,4-5 GS-6 6 4 1 1 3 7 0
Steve Rogers

1973 G #91 1st start
Gcar Gtm Date Tm Opp Rslt Inngs Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR
1 91 Jul 18 MON @ HOU W,3-2 GS-8 8 4 2 2 3 2 0
2 96 Jul 26(1) MON @ PHI W,4-0 SHO W(1-0) 9 1 0 0 2 3 0
3 101 Jul 30(1) MON @ NYM W,1-0 SHO W(2-0) 9 7 0 0 3 3 0
4 108 Aug 4 MON CHC W,6-1 CG W(3-0) 9 8 1 1 3 7 0
5 112 Aug 8 MON @ SFG L,1-2 CG(8) L(3-1) 8 4 2 2 3 3 1
6 115 Aug 12(1) MON @ SDP W,2-0 GS-8 W(4-1) 8 4 0 0 2 4 0
Jared Weaver

2006 G #49 1st start
Gcar Gtm Date Tm Opp Rslt Inngs Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR
1 49 May 27 LAA BAL W,10-1 GS-7 W(1-0) 7 3 0 0 1 5 0
2 54 Jun 2 LAA @ CLE W,10-3 GS-7 W(2-0) 6 4 2 2 2 8 0
3 59 Jun 7 LAA @ TBD W,6-2 GS-6 W(3-0) 6 4 2 2 0 4 2
4 64 Jun 13 LAA KCR W,4-1 GS-7 W(4-0) 7 5 1 0 1 5 0
5 82 Jul 3 LAA @ SEA W,7-1 GS-7 W(5-0) 7 5 1 1 1 9 0
6 87 Jul 8 LAA @ OAK W,6-4 GS-7 W(6-0) 7 2 0 0 2 5 0
7 98 Jul 23 LAA @ KCR W,3-1 GS-7 W(7-0) 6 3 1 1 4 4 0

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