Matt Garza disappointed with his first half
By GORDON WITTENMYER email@example.com July 5, 2012 9:48PM
Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves
CUBS AT METS
The facts: 6:10, CSN, 720-AM.
The pitchers: Travis Wood (3-3, 3.05 ERA) vs. Johan Santana (6-4, 2.76).
THE REST OF THE SERIES
Saturday: 3:10 p.m., Ch. 9, 720-AM. Jeff Samardzija (6-7, 4.77) vs. Dillon Gee (5-7, 4.34).
Sunday: 12:10 p.m., CSN, 720-AM. Ryan Dempster (3-3, 2.11) vs. Jonathon Niese (7-3, 3.35).
Updated: August 7, 2012 6:38AM
ATLANTA — That was quick.
Not as quick as the two home runs that put Cubs starter Matt Garza in a 4-0 hole five batters into Thursday’s 7-3 loss against the Atlanta Braves.
But the mere three months it took for him to go from building-block, contract-extension candidate to every talking head’s favorite Cub to get traded this month is almost as stunning for its whiplash speed.
The fact is, the Cubs are in no rush to trade him, and with another year of club control, they have the luxury of waiting out their price — whether that means a return in trade value or the figures on a new contract.
But his 4-7, 4.32 response to general manager Jed Hoyer’s suggestion this spring that ‘‘we need more Matt Garzas, not less’’ has definitely changed a few outlooks.
Even as scouts from several pitching-needy teams continued to hover during Garza’s four-inning, three-homer start.
Manager Dale Sveum, who watched a 44-pitch first inning doom Garza to the short day, said he expected more.
‘‘Because of the stuff,’’ Sveum said of a repertoire that’s widely considered among the best in the game. ‘‘You see 95 [mph], you see command of four pitches, and half the time it doesn’t seem to work out too well, to get deep in games, or he’s already at 100 pitches in six innings even if he’s pitched good. He’s a strange pitcher that way, as far as that kind of stuff to go through this quite often.’’
Garza was even more blunt about his first half.
‘‘Pretty crappy,’’ he said. ‘‘I started out great, got sick [in May], and then it just went to a crap show from there. I pride myself in what I do, and I’m not too happy with the way I ended this half. So, believe me, I’ll come out [ticked] off, so it’s going to be one hell of a second half.’’
‘‘That doesn’t affect what I do on the mound,’’ Garza said of trade rumors that have swirled around most of the team for two months. ‘‘I’ve still got to grab the ball and throw it for a strike. I’ve been in trade rumors since my pro career started, so it’s no big deal.
‘‘It’s more frustrating to go out there and let your boys stand around for 50 pitches in an inning. That’s not good for anybody.’’
Ryan Dempster, who has been on the disabled list for three weeks because of a lat muscle strain, felt well enough the day after Wednesday’s bullpen session that he looks probable to start Sunday on a short pitch limit.
† Sveum talked with starter Chris Volstad — likely headed back to Class AAA if Dempster is ready Sunday — about straying from the game plan in Tuesday’s 10-3 loss. ‘‘It was a good talk,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘He agreed that he needs to allow [his catchers] to [call pitches] and trust them, not that he doesn’t trust them. He just gets a little out on his own path sometimes.’’