Matt Garza started tonight with two hard fastballs that Russ Johnson couldn't get around on, and on beautiful slider low and away that fooled him for a strikeout.
It didn't go very well after that, and Garza would be replaced by Willy Eyre in the third inning. It isn't a good thing when your team determines they have a better chance winning with Willy Eyre in the game instead of you.
Garza started off looking pretty good. In the first, his pitches looked like they were mostly working. He came VERY close on a couple of pitches to getting a third strikeout to end the inning. One of the runners was on a pathetic little roller that Louis Rodriguez couldn't quite get to. Lyle Overbay had a long at bat, fouling off many pitches until he finally flew out into right center. Unfortunately, with Hunter playing in left center, he couldn't get there in time, and the ball went under his glove, leaving Overbay on second base.
So the first inning combined some bad luck and a bit of nerves (in the form of a few fastballs Mauer had to jump to keep from the backstop). In the second, Garza hung a bad changeup that landed in the seats. Then, with his breaking balls failing, he started to throw the fastball almost exclusively and the Toronto hitters did what major league hitters will d when they know a fastball is coming. They hit it hard.
Same story in the 3rd, more fastballs until a bad changeup was hung and again deposited in the left field bleachers.
Not a good beginning for Garza. I liked his stuff in the first, but he definitely threw to many fastballs.
We'll have to watch his next start VERY closely to see if this start was more attributable to nerves or if Garza was rushed. It WAS after all a month ago tomorrow when Garza pitched one inning in the AA all-star game. We also remember that the current phenom, Liriano, had a rough start last year and boasted an ERA over 5 in his stint in August and September.
So this start doesn?t necessarily mean anything for next year, or even maybe next week, but it definitely makes Garza's next start even more worth watching.