It’s somewhat strange seeing the Cubs win back-to-back games at Arizona, and not just because Chicago has slumped to an early sub-.500 record.
The desert hasn’t exactly been a stomping ground for the Cubs, who are 20-30 all-time at Chase field.
In fact, it’s Chicago’s second-lowest winning percentage at any current NL ballpark–although New York’s Citi Field is a bit of an exception given the Cubs have played just two series at the Mets’ home park going (2-5).
But with Saturday’s 5-3 win, Chicago has won 5 of its last 6 games played at Arizona. They swept a three-game set at Chase last summer, and look to take three of four Sunday afternoon. Is the law of averages finally sliding in the Cubs direction in AZ?
I’m not sure who was hit harder or who played worse Friday night–Matt Garza or the Chicago Blackhawks?
After two less-than-par outings from Garza it was time for the right-hander to perform up to standards. Instead, we got more of the same in a 5-0 drubbing against the red-hot Rockies.
In six innings Garza continuously worked behind in the count, threw a ton of pitches (119) and couldn’t escape one lousy inning that cost him the game.
Of course, there are plenty of excuses…Denver is a pitcher’s nightmare, the weather felt more like January than April and Colorado entered the game winners of six straight.
But under the same pitchnig conditions Jhoulys Chacin tossed his first career complete game shutout. What gives, Matt?
I’ll give Garza credit for battling through 5.2 innings Sat. night.
He clearly didn’t have his best stuff, but he gutted out 107 pitches with zero run support.
If Garza went wrong anywhere it was serving up three doubles to The Prince…all on 0-2 counts. Good stuff or not, that’s poor situational pitching.
A loss is a loss, of course, but having a starter last into the sixth in a laugher doesn’t go for not, at least not this early in the season, and not with two starters on the DL.
Thus far Garza has been so-so through his two starts. In 12.2 innings he’s struck out 20 and allowed 20 hits. Meh.
But it goes without saying the right-hander needs a better outting his third time around–especially with Wells and Cashner laid up for at least another week.
The Bullpen Session is a weekly round-up of my observations surrounding Cubs baseball and much, much more!
–Not a good football week for me. I wrapped up my weekly NFL season picks at 161-95 (.628), far below my goal of (.700), went 2-2 in my postseason picks and found out my Colts pants aren’t that lucky after all.
My Wild Card picks included Colts, Ravens, Packers and Saints. This week I’m taking Pats, Ravens, Packers and the Bears.
–Meanwhile, Colts fans are crucifying coach Jim Caldwell for calling a timeout with 29 seconds left during the Colts 17-16 loss to New York.
How do you feel about Jim Hendry’s off-season so far? The ‘Big Three’ on his to-do list have been scratched off.
He landed Carlos Pena, the left-handed hitting first baseman: Kerry Wood, the quality bullpen arm, and Matt Garza, a solid No.3 starter. And better, Hendry’s done all this for around $16-million.
Of course, Hendry’s taking a gamble on all three–Pena having a rebound year, Wood’s injury history and the prospects dealt for Garza.
But on the plus side, Hendry’s added some much-needed veteran presence in the clubhouse, limited Pena’s deal to one-year, signed Wood for the right price and landed a legit starter under contract through 2013.
Given these moves the Cubs have a chance to compete in 2011. So what’s not to like?
To trade or not to trade for Matt Garza? The right-hander is 27-years-old and a five-year veteran.
Last three seasons in Tampa Bay:
-(34-31), 3.86 ERA.
-Started 30,32,32 games.
-Tossed six complete games.
-Threw 200+ innings twice (’09-’10) & 184 IP in ’08.
-Struck out 467 vs. 201 walks.
-Started five playoff games going (2-1) with a 3.48 ERA.
According to Baseball-Reference.com, Garza is close in similarity score to John Danks (977 out of 1,000) and Mike Pelfrey (967).
He’s similar through age 26 to Kip Wells (982), Steve Trachsel (982), Brad Penny (972), Jason Marquis (971) and Darryl Kile (970).
Is Garza worth a package of young Cub prospects? You tell me.
I’d be willing to part with prospects to land Matt Garza in a trade. The Rays have made the 27-year-old available, and the Cubs need more starting pitching.
Garza is a decent starter, a legit No.3. His talent, however, isn’t worthy of one of the Cubs’ top prospects including Tyler Colvin, Starlin Castro or Andrew Cashner.