Today is the day when we begin to find out the results of the somewhat controversial deal that brought Matt Garza from the Rays to the Cubs. Of the seven players involved in that deal, the only ones who made 25-man rosters this year were Garza... and Sam Fuld.
Gordon Wittenmyer in the Sun-Times has a profile of Garza including some things about how he has toned down his fiery personality a little -- but not too much -- so he can focus on his pitching instead of getting into clashes with his teammates, as he did with Dioner Navarro while he was with the Rays in 2008.
Garza didn't have a good spring and his statement supposedly blaming the dry air in Arizona didn't sit well with a lot of people. It's time for him to show us the reasons Jim Hendry was willing to send four minor leaguers to Tampa for him. Also, the Cubs have a chance to win a series against a team that was very tough on them a year ago and get this year off to a positive start. It's forecast to be the "warmest" day of the three days so far this season, with temperatures in the 60s.
For everyone who wants Starlin Castro to lead off, you are getting your wish -- for today, at least. Lineup:
Castro SS, Barney 2B, Byrd CF, Ramirez 3B, Pena 1B, Soto C, Soriano LF, Colvin RF, Garza P
Uniform number trivia and a bit of Cubs history: the last Cubs pitcher to wear No. 17 before Garza was Dave LaRoche, who wore it in 1973 and 1974. Since 1974 only two other Cubs pitchers have worn numbers lower than 20, both No. 13: Turk Wendell (1993-97) and Will Ohman (2006-07). If LaRoche's name sounds familiar, his sons are Adam LaRoche and Andy LaRoche, current major league players. He had two mediocre years as a Cubs reliever before becoming a pretty decent late-inning reliever (before they were called "closers") and posting 126 career saves.
|Today's Starting Pitchers|
Stats are 2010 season final stats
Matt Garza, because of his travels through the American League with the Twins and Rays, has missed pitching against the Pirates in interleague play -- this is his first career start against them. The only current Pirate he has faced is ex-Blue Jay Lyle Overbay (9-for-36, .250, 10 strikeouts).
Ross Ohlendorf's 1-11 W/L record is misleading -- he posted a decent 4.07 ERA and had the second-worst run support in the NL last year, only 2.9 runs per game started (21 starts). As befits Pirates pitchers from 2010, when they dominated the Cubs, he had a 2.08 ERA in two starts, both no-decisions (the Pirates won one and lost one). Geovany Soto is 3-for-8 against him.
Today's game is back on WGN, and also on ROOT Sports in Pittsburgh. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Today's first pitch thread will be up at 1:15 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm and 4 pm CDT. These time frames will be pretty standard for most regular season games this year -- game preview about two hours to game time, a first pitch thread (on the front page) at game time, and then overflows at an hour, two hours and 2:45 after game time (approximately). If you need more overflows due to rain delays or extra innings, post them in the fanshot section.
Discuss amongst yourselves.