Cubs Game Notes: The return of Matt Garza

Today marks the long awaited return of Cubs starter Matt Garza.  He goes up against Wandy Rodriguez and a Pittsburgh Pirates team that is playing quite well this season.

Garza is returning from rehab in which he pitched well and put up good numbers, but more importantly flashed his old 93-95 mph velocity, sharp slider, solid change, and as good as command as can be expected from a pitcher that hasn't pitched in so long.

Garza is scheduled to pitch 85-90 pitches.

News and Notes:

  • Speaking of Matt Garza, his return will inevitably spark trade rumors.  Garza has expressed his desire to stay in Chicago in the past, prompting CSN's Patrick Mooney to ask, "What is it about Chicago?"  Ryan Dempster didn't hesitate to answer, "You’re playing in a great city,” Dempster said. “You’re playing in front of great fans. There’s passion that’s different than a lot of places, this desire for this unattainable goal, because of the World Series they haven’t won in over a hundred years. So you always feel like: ‘I want to be a part of that team.’” That should not only keep players here -- it also may be an advantage when it comes to enticing new players to come to Chicago.
  • In case you missed it, the Cubs acquired a hard-throwing reliever in Eduardo Sanchez and assigned him to AAA Iowa.  You can get the details on him here.
  • I also wrote about the Cubs aggressive strategy when it comes to acquiring impact talent level talent at the amateur level.

Cubs Lineup

1. CF: Julio Borbon
2. SS: Starlin Castro
3. 1B: Anthony Rizzo
4. LF: Alfonso Soriano
5. RF: Scott Hairston
6. C: Welington Castillo
7. 3B: Cody Ransom
8. 2B: Darwin Barney
9. SP: Matt Garza

What to Watch for (other than the obvious):

John:  I probably don't need to explain Matt Garza's importance to the Cubs plans one way or the other.  Since that's the easy answer, I'll also say that I'm interested to see what Julio Borbon does at the top of the lineup.  He's not the OBP guy DeJesus is, but he can make things happen once he's on base.  One bonus guy: Scott Hairston.  The Cubs as a whole haven't hit Wandy Rodriguez very well, but Hairston is new and exempt to that rule.  He has a lifetime OPS of 1.102, including 2 HRs, in 22 ABs.

Tom:  Matt Garza, of course, but interested to see how Starlin Castro responds to the most recent criticism from manager Dale Sveum.

FelzzCarlos Villanueva- While everyone will probably be focused on Matt Garza, and rightfully so, he will be on a pretty strict pitch limit. Which probably means the debut of Carlos Villanueva-middle man. Let's hope he makes a smooth transition


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  • I'm looking for a good game from starlin castro, it seems like he is the talk of media and fans when thing go wrong. But he reminds everyone how gifted he is.

  • In reply to seankl:

    Agreed. I think the Cubs have to get to the point where Starlin Castro isn't the guy they depend on. Focus is too much on him and expectations get unrealistic sometimes. On the other hand, I really wish he was further along as far as his pitch selection.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree wish he further along, I see it come and go with him as far as pitch selection. Some days he has good at bats then he has days were he swings at everything.

  • Aaaaaaaand now I have "Return of the Mack" stuck in my head.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    Haha! Sorry. At least I didn't title it, "Return of the Matt".

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    Wonderful strategy breakdown earlier!!!! It makes me wonder , how i survived without the DEN !!!! Great job!!!! Hoping for Barney to start picking up the pace.

  • In reply to Sportsgod:

    Thanks Sportsgod!

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    Dempster quote is quite interesting given just how ugly that divorce got last year. (And, seriously, his nap turned into Christian Villanueva and Kyle Hendricks. Best. Nap. Ever.)

  • Good thing Garza is back, the lineup was sorely missing his bat! 2 RBIs already (plus 4 Ks in 2 innings)! Welcome back Mr. Garza.
    Not to repeat myself with Garza back it makes the staff looker stronger from top to bottom and if this team can add another RBI bat they may actually be fun to watch again as opposed to in the back of your mind not minding losses which help draft position.

  • In reply to Behn Wilson:

    Didn't expect that from Garza. Nice outing today. Command was just a tiny bit off and ump wasn't doing him any favors.

  • If they could get rid of Camp, Hairston that would please me enough short term

  • I was excited when they signed Hairston. Was not that familiar wit him but he looked like a good power hitter, looking at his stats. Guess I was wrong. Yep him and Camp should go, especially Camp.

  • In reply to Behn Wilson:

    I'm disappointed. He's hit lefties so well in his career. But he's also used to playing more regularly.

  • 2 hits for Barney, he is officially past the Mendoza line now!

  • In reply to Behn Wilson:

    Baby steps.

  • When does Clevenger com back?

  • In reply to ucandoit:

    Not for awhile, he's just starting to get some work in in AZ.

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    If I'm Garza, I want to punch Dale Sveum in the face right now. His "plan" was brilliant!

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    Bingo. Dale Sveum owes every Cub fan and Matt Garza an apology after this game. The man does not understand how to manage a winning ball team- today showed me that once and for all. As long as he manages this team from here forward I'll be waiting anxiously for an upgrade because I've seen enough.

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    In reply to Paulson:

    The result sucks, but what's the problem? Garza is coming off injury, and was on a pitch limit. It's not a good idea to have a guy coming off a forearm strain, then immediately run his pitch count up.

    Now, if you think he should've used someone other than Camp, that's a different debate

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    In reply to Zonk:

    Dittos Zonk! Sveum did exactly what he should have done. If you want blame someone, blame the front office for not providing Sveum with a better bullpen.

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    In reply to Zonk:

    Who else is there? Bowden would have been the best option.

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    In reply to Zonk:

    I have absolutely no disagreement with taking Garza out after 5. i question the plan and choices made afterward.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Did I say anything about Sveum's decision to pull Garza? Maybe you should read and comprehend a post before you make assumptions. Rondon is a Rule V guy that's struggled in his past several outings, while Villanueva was put into long relief specifically for the purpose of piggy-backing starts like Garza made today. And having Russell face one guy while Camp faced four at the most crucial time of the game was genius. High leverage situations is not where we need a struggling Camp. Want me to connect some more dots for you?

  • In reply to Paulson:

    You should make that clear in the initial post if you don't want people to make assumptions.

  • Shawn Camp is one way to make sure 2014 IFA pool and rule 4 draft picks are higher :(

  • I have been waiting to say this for a long time, but the way Svuem is running this bullpen just sad. He doesn't bring in Villenueva who is supposed to be the long man but instead goes with the guy who hasn't been in a pressure situation all year, lets Russell face one batter and then goes with LVP Camp... If the guys are trying to throw away the season I just wish they would let us know because it is to painful to follow. Ole Dale just doesn't impress me at all.

  • Dfa Bowden and leave Camp on the team. why oh why oh why.

  • In reply to bobb:


    Having realised the error of their ways, is it possible for Bowden to be recalled and Camp to be cut adrift? I was all for re-signing Camp but it now looks like he has too many miles on the clock especially after a lot of work last year. He didn't look good in Spring Training and hasn't looked anything like his form of last year ever since... Bowden may pitch like he is throwing pies but at least once the ball leaves his hand it has been effective...

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    Alright , this is driving me nuts!!!! Wasnt this the perfect scenario for Villaneuva to back up Garza , then Russell and Gregg !!!! Why are we pitching a Rule 5 guy , then Camp. Camp has got to go !!! Now !!!! At this point , i dont care who they bring up !!!! Dolis , Parker , Rusin , Putnam , Negrin ? This needs to be done soon!!!!

  • In reply to Sportsgod:

    Exactly- you, I, and ARcubfan along with 90% of the astute fans out there can see Dale should have done to back up Garza today.

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    Theo and Jed are thinking-"great, all the scouts are here and Soriano drops a flyball"...

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    Good news department: Javy Baez is 2 for 4 with a walk (and a strikeout). He's really starting to string together some good offensive games. Yay.

  • That's great news on Baez. Id like to see Vogelbach start racking up some dingers now too.

  • I believe Rondon will obtain a sore arm soon and be put on the DL.......and be with Lenny Castillo somewhere in Tennessee in 2014.....

    I believe Soriano will never win a Gold Glove.....

    I believe Rizzo is NOT our long term first baseman........

    I believe there is NOT one player on the roster that will on this team when we do win a World Series......

    I believe Dale Sevum will be the first manager fired in 2014.....

    I believe Dale Sevum will cast on a future DWTS show.....

    I believe that Theo & Jed will blame most of the problems on a ex-Hendry left over....

    I believe Soriano will walk out of the Cubs clubhouse in Aug 2014 and announce his retirement after no team pick him up on waivers......

    I believe Ozzie Guillen will swallow his pride and accept Theo's offer to be the next Cubs manager.....

    I believe the Cubs will get the #1 draft pick sometime before 2016......

    I believe Matt Garza will throw a no-hitter before the July trade deadline, and Theo will Garza to Tampa for Archer, Fuld and other mid level prospects.....

    I believe Lou Pinnella will show up one day at Wrigley, mumbling in a Cubs uniform wearing a Reds cap and having ken Griiffey Jr on the top of his line up card.....

    I believe one of the Cubs Den writers will be our next Cubs GM after Theo is tarred and feather and run out of town.......

    I believe the Cubs will not be able to win 88 games this season or any season as long as Dale is our manager.

  • RIZZO SUCKS..........

    Bring back Larry Biittner!

  • Biittner at least was a better relief pitcher than this year's Camp.

  • I think it is crazy for Cubs fans to spend money on seeing these guys......what a "Scam".....

    many of these Cubs players should be at the minor league level......this team has NO heart....NO desire to win.....NO ambition to perform at the major league level.

    and the coaching staff is to be blamed for not having these players at their best....

    Theo needs to shake up this team before the fans revolt.

    Maybe some team issues need to be put to a halt.....invoke a "clean appearance" look.....cut the long hair and start shaving.....fines for every "mistake" on the field.....bench players who do not hustle.

    If they play and act like little league players, then they need to be treated like ones.

  • I think that's a bit harsh. The fight in this years team is on a different plain to 2011 and 2012 as is evidenced by the close games. With Soriano hitting a few more RBIs and an average bullpen this team would easily be over 500... At least they are watchable... The last 2 years and especially the last 3 months under Quade we played terribly. My only issue this year is why did we let go Baker and Johnson (not resign them in the winter) to replace them with the awful Sappelt and worse Hairston - Hairston has the turning circle of a super tanker.

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