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Cubs will see if ex-teammate Matt Garza can ‘kick their teeth in’

Updated: May 26, 2014 6:44AM



The way the Cubs have hit, and the way ex-teammate Matt Garza talked about wanting to “kick their teeth in,” maybe it wasn’t the worst thing in the world — for their dental health at least — that the Cubs aren’t smiling as they head to Milwaukee for the weekend, jaws clenched.

As if the National League Central wasn’t already tough enough for the last-place Cubs with three 2013 playoff teams in it, the other guys in the division — Garza’s Brewers — are off to the best start in the majors.

And coming off two losses to the only team in the NL with a worse record — the Arizona Diamondbacks — the Cubs get their first look at the Brewers. Just in time to face the emotionally charged, hard-throwing Garza in his first start against the Cubs since they traded him to the Texas Rangers in July.

“Great for us,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said after a 5-2 loss Thursday against ordinary-looking rookie pitcher Mike Bolsinger. “Why? Because it’s a test. Every single day we play in the Central Division, it’s a test.”

Even if it sometimes looks like middle schoolers against the SATs.

And it doesn’t figure to start with an easy one Friday against Garza, who signed a four-year, $50 million deal with the Brewers, then told the Sun-Times during spring training that he enjoyed his time in Chicago, “but I like where I’m at, and I’m going to try to kick their teeth in every time I get the chance.”

“I’m sure Garza’s going to be Garza,” said Cubs starter Edwin Jackson (1-2), who lost Thursday despite retiring 17 of the last 18 batters he faced and pitching a season-high seven innings. “He hasn’t changed.”

That might not bode well for Cubs hitters after the way they looked against Bolsinger, who showed little more than an 88-mph fastball and a good curveball.

“Nothing special,” Starlin Castro said. “That’s what makes losing one like this tough.”



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