6/21 Cubs 3, Astros 1
Matt Garza’s Spring Training is finally over. The Cubs right-hander, who began the year on the disabled list and didn’t make his first start until May 21, held the Astros to one run over eight plus innings in a 3-1 rain-delayed Interleague victory Friday.
Anthony Rizzo belted a monster leadoff home run in the fourth, Darwin Barney had three hits and needed a triple to complete the cycle, and Scott Hairston added a solo shot in the sixth to power the Cubs, now 7-2 against American League teams this year.
Garza set season highs in innings pitched and strikeouts, and posted his third quality start and second ina row. Among the four hits off the right-hander was a leadoff home run by Chris Carter in the seventh.
“His fastball had life and [he had] command of it, down and away, and in,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “He got his ground balls. His slider got better as the game went on. He did a great job.”
Garza may have done too well. In his last two starts, he’s given up one earned run over 15 innings. There were plenty of scouts who waited out the three hour, 18 minute rain delay at the start of the game to see the Cubs pitcher in person. The Trade Deadline isn’t that far away.
“You don’t want to lose a guy who can give up one run in his last 15 innings,” Sveum said. “Obviously, it’s a business, and that’s not part of my business.”
Garza has been rumored to be dealt his entire career. This year is no different.
“I’m looking forward to the next five days,” Garza said, staying focused on the task at hand. “I think I face Milwaukee in Milwaukee and I’ll be ready.”
He was matched up for the second straight game with catcher Dioner Navarro, who was his teammate in Tampa, rather than Welington Castillo.
“[Garza] better listen to me,” Navarro said, laughing.
Navarro then complemented Castillo for the job he’s done. Bottom line, Garza is the one on the mound.
“I’ve got nothing to do with it — he’s the one pitching and he’s the one throwing the ball,” Navarro said.
Garza missed a chance for a complete game after he walked Jose Altuve to open the ninth. Kevin Gregg took over, and closed things out for his 11th save in as many opportunities.
— Carrie Muskat