7/5 Early exit for Garza
There were a few scouts at Turner Field to watch Cubs pitcher Matt Garza, considered a hot item as teams approach the Trading Deadline. They got to see every pitch in Garza’s repertoire in the first inning. The Braves jumped on Garza quickly. Jason Heyward gave Atlanta a 2-0 lead with one out in the first on his 14th home run, driving in Martin Prado, who had singled. Freddie Freeman then singled and Brian McCann launched his 10th homer of the season over the right field fence to take a 4-0 lead. It’s the fourth time in Garza’s career he’s served up two home runs in the same inning.
But the most entertaining at-bat — and perhaps most helpful to the scouts in attendance — was by Juan Francisco, who made Garza throw 16 pitches, fouling off the last nine, before finally grounding out to first to end the inning. Garza sweated through 40 pitches in the first.
The right-hander was pulled after giving up five runs on five hits — including three homers — and three walks over four innings, while striking out six. He’s drawing interest from potential playoff-bound teams looking to add a starter before the July 31 Trading Deadline. Garza’s career 23-15 record and 3.34 ERA in 56 games against American League East teams makes him an attractive pickup as well as the fact that he won’t be a free agent until after 2013. He’s held opponents to a .235 batting average this season, but the Cubs have scored three or fewer runs while he’s been in the game in 11 of his 15 starts, including four starts without a run scored.
– Carrie Muskat