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Garcia tries to see big picture as losses keep coming

June 10, 2013
By Darian Somers (sports@altoonamirror.com) , The Altoona Mirror

Carlos Garcia's desk is cluttered with papers. Some are full with stats, others with notes he kept.

One paper was very clear on the manager's desk after Sunday night's game - a paper that was in clear sight that said: 25-37.

The Curve dropped to a season-tying worst 12 games under .500 as Binghamton came from behind to win, 5-2, before 5,409 at Peoples Natural Gas Field.

"I don't focus on the record," Garcia said. "I just want to make sure that that record doesn't show how good we can be. The numbers for me don't mean a lot.

"I just want to make sure the numbers don't lie. Definitely, the numbers are telling you have a struggling team, but the numbers don't show for the effort they put in every night."

Garica said he showed the sign after the game to his team, and while he is more focused on the growth of the player, he wants to prepare his team for the big leagues.

Fact Box

Next stop

Tonight: Idle

Next up: Altoona Curve at New Britain, Tuesday, 6 p.m.

Record: Altoona (25-37); New Britain (31-32)

One of the guys that Garcia may have been referring to was the effort of Justin Howard, who went 2-for-4 as he hit his second homer this year. He drove in both of the Curve's runs.

"It feels good, but I mean we played a great game too," Howard said. "It was 2-2 going into the ninth. We didn't execute when we needed to but it was a team effort. It wasn't a one-man show. It was tough to lose that one but there were also some positives in there."

A few weeks ago, Howard was a guy that wasn't called on, spending time off the roster. With Andrew Lambo gone - who was the Curve's leading hitter - Garcia said he plans to use Howard and others as well to fill in the void left by Lambo's promotion to Triple-A.

"They don't have a choice," Garcia said of players stepping up like Howard. "It's not like we don't want those guys. We want those guys. We want them to perform. Their playing time is going to be very short so they have to make the most out of the opportunities."

Now as the team heads into a stretch of 15 consecutive games against American League teams, Howard will be able to see more action in the field.

It will also allow catcher Charlie Cutler, who defensively has struggled, to be the designated hitter. Cutler has the best batting average, .337, as he is the only Curve player hitting about .300.

"[Howard] will see more action - definitely, down two players out of the roster," Garcia said. "It's hard because Cutler, I want to give him at-bats but you sacrifice defense. Defense is what keeps you in the game. It's hard to win games when you don't hit, but it's impossible when you don't play defense and you don't pitch."

Garcia and the Curve have an off day before heading on the road to New Britain. While Garcia wants to close the gap between the wins and losses, he said the record doesn't show what his team is gaining in experience.

"That number doesn't show how they are growing, how they are learning, how they care about the teammates," Garcia said. "That record doesn't show that."

Game recap

Key player: B-Mets 1B Allan Dykstra went 3-for-4, scoring twice and hit a home run.

Key play: LF Travis Taijeron hit a three-run homer to break a 2-2 tie in the ninth

Key stat: The Curve were swept for the third time this year.

How they scored

Bottom 2nd: Howard homered (1-0).

Bottom 4th: Dickerson singled, scored on Howard single (2-0).

Top 5th: Dykstra homered (2-1).

Top 7th: Rodriquez singled, scored on Taijeron single (2-2).

Top 9th: Rodriquez singled, Dykstra singled, both scored on Taijeron homer (2-5).

 
 

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