Since the beginning of July, the Cubs have scored the following number of runs in Matt Garza's starts:
0, 10, 3, 2, 5, 2, 1 and 1
And you can throw out the 10-run game, because Garza was gone from that one after two innings and the Cubs were losing 8-0 after five innings before they won with an amazing comeback (in Washington on July 7).
Garza is in the middle of the pack of NL starters in run support, but it seems as if the Cubs forget to hit while he's on the mound. They did it again Tuesday night at Wrigley Field, scoring zero runs and getting just one hit during the time Garza was in the game and eventually losing to the Nationals 3-1.
Garza made two mistakes. The first one was crushed by Mike Morse over the batter's eye in center field, nearly making the CF bleachers. That's one of the longest home runs at Wrigley this year. After a single, Jonny Gomes hit a ball that just barely made it over the basket, where it was caught by someone in the first row. The fan did not reach past the basket, just over it. It was, unfortunately, a legitimate home run and the difference in the game.
The Cubs couldn't do anything with Chien-Ming Wang until the sixth inning. They had three baserunners, two on walks and one when Marlon Byrd got hit, before that. Wang, just back from shoulder surgery that kept him out for two years, had not pitched well in his two starts before last night. But that didn't stop him from shutting down the Cubs until Tony Campana beat out a ground ball to deep second base. Campana stole second, but was stranded there.
Starlin Castro provided the only real opportunity for Cubs fans to cheer Tuesday night when he hit his sixth home run (and third in the last week), deep to the opposite field. Castro has now hit in nine straight games. During that time he's hitting .463 with three doubles, three home runs, nine RBI and 12 runs scored. Really, if not for Castro, and many of Garza's starts, there wouldn't be anything exciting to watch about this year's team.
Props to the Cubs bullpen: James Russell, Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol threw three perfect innings, striking out six. Wood, in particular, looked very good; it was one of his best outings of the year.
And Tuesday night, at least, brought nice weather. This normally isn't worth mentioning, but there have been so few days like Tuesday, with pleasant temperatures, low humidity and no rain, that it is unusual enough to note here. BCB'er elgato joined us in the bleachers Tuesday... good to see you again.
And one more thing before I finish. Mike Quade was asked whether he's going to stick with Rodrigo Lopez in the rotation. He could have skipped Lopez due to the rainout, but chose to keep everyone in rotation. Here's his inexplicable answer:
"I'm committed to him right now." Quade said. "As I look at this thing as it pans out — take it four days at a time — we're going to play Washington, who is in the hunt still, and we have contenders throughout the rest of the month. That's part of the reason I want to keep the pitching in line."
"We're going to play Washington, who is in the hunt still". Has anyone referred Quade to the NL standings? Even with Tuesday night's win, the Nationals are 19.5 games out of first place and 11 games out of the wild card lead. They're not "in the hunt" for anything. I just don't understand Quade's odd fetish for Lopez, who will not be on this team in 2012 and is not at all part of the team's future. As Paul Sullivan's article says, the Cubs could try Casey Coleman again -- Coleman has thrown better at Iowa and might be able to help the team next year.
It's the same theory, I suppose, that has put Tyler Colvin on the bench for some games since his recall. Just another strange decision by Mike Quade. And so it goes.