The last time Matt Garza pitched in the Phoenix area, in the last regular game of spring training, he pronounced himself not pleased with the climate:
"There’s a lot of positives to take out of [Arizona], and I’ve just got to keep going," Garza said. "I’m healthy. It’s my first year in Arizona. And it sucks.
"I don’t give a damn. I don’t care about the travel. It sucks here. It’s so dry, but whatever. Now it’s time to go to Chicago, where there’s a little more moisture in the air."
So now you know who to blame for the cold, wet April we've had in Chicago. And those of us who have spent April in cold Chicago would take that dry heat any time.
In any case, Garza has actually not been terrible in his five starts so far with the Cubs. He has a slightly above average ERA+ of 104 and is leading the major leagues (among starters) with 12 strikeouts per nine innings. He's 0-3, but a lot of that has to do with lack of run support. Among 80 currently qualified starters in the NL, Garza ranks 75th in run support -- 1.8 per start. The Cubs have been shut out in two of his starts and scored two, three and four runs in the others. They did manage to win the game where they scored two runs, but that was the 2-1 extra-inning win on April 20 vs. the Padres; Garza was long gone by then.
One more thing: this is the first time in Garza's career, 123 starts, that he has gone five consecutive starts without allowing a home run. It would be nice to keep that going tonight.
That is, if it's not too dry at Chase Field.
Fukudome RF, Barney 2B, Castro SS, Ramirez 3B, Baker 1B, Soriano LF, Byrd CF, Soto C, Garza P
Young CF, Parra LF, Upton RF, Drew SS, Roberts 2B, Branyan 1B, Montero C, Mora 3B, Kennedy P
|Today's Starting Pitchers|
|2011 - Matt Garza||0-3||5||5||0||0||0||0||30.2||36||18||14||0||9||41||4.11||1.47|
|2011 - Ian Kennedy||3-1||5||5||1||1||0||0||31.1||26||15||14||2||8||26||4.02||1.09|
Matt Garza has never faced the Diamondbacks during the regular season. However, in the final spring training game this year against the D'backs on March 29 in Mesa, Garza gave up 11 hits and seven earned runs and, as noted above, blamed the dry air in Arizona for his spring training troubles. Hopefully, he'll ignore the desert climate tonight. The good news is that about half of the D'backs who played in that exhibition game aren't on the team now.
Ian Kennedy pitched twice against the Cubs last year; he defeated them at Wrigley Field, but at Chase Field on July 5, 2010, the Cubs roughed him up for nine hits and seven earned runs. That series is notable for being the last series the Cubs swept while Lou Piniella was the manager. Kosuke Fukudome homered off Kennedy in that game.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago and FSN Arizona. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Today's first pitch thread will be up at 7 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 8 pm, 9 pm and 9:45 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to rain delays or extra innings, post them in the fanshot section.
Discuss amongst yourselves.