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.
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.
Felzz: Carlos 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
Filed under: Preview and Game Thread