Luis Garcia is good. Like, really good. That’s something the Houston Astros and the rest of Major League Baseball already knew. But on Saturday night, Garcia showed the world what he can do, pitching three innings in relief en route to Venezuela’s 5-1 win over the Dominican Republic to kick off Pool D play in the World Baseball Classic.
When it comes to the Classic, wins are crucial, and Garcia proved to be a key factor in Venezuela’s victory. With seven strikeouts over three innings, he made tournament history as the first reliever to record seven K’s in a World Baseball Classic game.
Venezuelan manager Omar López had planned to use Garcia against Puerto Rico in some capacity on Sunday night but consulting with his analytics team, it was decided that Garcia would be best used out of the bullpen against the Dominican Republic. The preparation paid off as he was able to dominate against the powerful offense of the D.R.
Adding to the excitement was watching Garcia face off against his Astros teammate, Dominican shortstop Jeremy Peña, whom he struck out swinging on four pitches to end the fifth inning. Despite the brotherhood between players of different countries in the Classic, Garcia’s success is a testament to his talent that extends beyond team allegiance.
As a reigning World Series champion, it’s not too shabby that Garcia made such an impact in the World Baseball Classic. Who knows, a World Baseball Classic championship could be in his future, too. One thing is for sure; he has already shown the world what he can do, and it’s something we won’t soon forget.