Garza tough-luck loser for Cubs

Updated 7/2/2011 8:49 PM
  • George LeClaire/gleclaire@dailyherald.comCubs starter Matt Garza saw both his record and his ERA fall with Saturday's 1-0 complete-game loss to the White Sox

    George LeClaire/gleclaire@dailyherald.comCubs starter Matt Garza saw both his record and his ERA fall with Saturday's 1-0 complete-game loss to the White Sox

Cubs manager Mike Quade termed it "a brutal loss."

And it was.

The Cubs wasted a wonderful pitching performance by starter Matt Garza, who turned in the first complete game for the team this year. For his effort, all Garza got Saturday was a 1-0 loss to the White Sox before 42,165 at Wrigley Field.

"It's a huge shame," Quade said. "We go back to when you don't get run support. Demp (Ryan Dempster) the other day did a great job and didn't get a 'W.'

"It doesn't take away from the fact that that's the kind of stuff we need. Nine innings of that kind of baseball is even beyond what we need.

"Those outings are the kind of things we're looking for -- in a pressure situation, down a run, coming back out in the eighth and the ninth."

Garza is another Cubs pitcher who has pitched better than his record indicates. With Saturday's effort, Garza saw his record fall to 4-7, but his ERA drop from 4.07 to 3.77.

"I felt good," said the 27-year-old right-hander, who has 8 of the Cubs' 31 quality starts and 2 of the last 3. "I've been throwing a lot better."

There were a couple of things that hurt Garza against the White Sox. One was a close call at the plate in the sixth inning, when the Sox got the game's only run.

With Gordon Beckham on second base and one out, Garza thought he had Juan Pierre struck out on a 1-2 pitch. But umpire Gary Darling called the close pitch a ball.

Pierre then dunked a single into left field to drive home Beckham. Garza slammed his cap after seeing the result.

"I was mad," he said. "It's a big situation. I wanted that pitch. He doesn't make the call, but it doesn't make it any better that I hung a slider, and I should have put him away.

"That kind of hurt more than the (close) pitch. I think that's why I got mad. I made an even worse pitch than I did before. You just tip your cap to Pierre because he beat me."

The other thing that hurt Garza was the Cubs' offense, and that's taking nothing away from White Sox starting pitcher Phil Humber, who worked 7 strong innings.

Cubs batters hit into 3 double plays in the first three innings.

Kosuke Fukudome led off the first inning with a single, and Darwin Barney worked a walk. But Starlin Castro, who has struggled mightily batting third, swung at a first pitch and grounded into a double play.

Alfonso Soriano went first-pitch swinging after a walk in the second and bounced into a double play that got Quade tossed from the game for arguing (correctly) that Sox second baseman Beckham was nowhere near the bag in the middle of the play.

Barney singled with one out in the third, but Castro grounded into an inning-ending double play.

The Cubs were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position, and their aggressiveness at the plate hurt them again.

"There's so much made," Quade said on this subject. "Patience can be a virtue. We've talked about that. This is the most delicate of all the stuff that goes on, to me, hitting wise.

"This is the toughest subject to deal with, because you don't want to stand up there and be 0-1 all day. The idea that we're just going to go up there and take pitches you want to get good pitches to hit.

"It's funny. From my vantage point today, which is not really what I wanted (watching on TV from his office after being kicked out), we had pitches to hit in some of those situations.

"So just to be critical and say, 'We're swinging at first pitches and didn't get it done,' I don't think that's taking a serious look at what's going on. Selective is good, but getting pitches to hit is the main thing."

As for Garza, he'll have to try again next time, but he's looking to be a solid acquisition in January's trade with Tampa Bay for prospects.

"I'm really learning how to pitch," he said. "When I was with Tampa, I was practically a one-dimensional guy -- fastball-heavy.

"Now, I'm learning how to pitch, how to mix things in, change things up, throw stuff here and there. Progression. I tend to forget that I'm only 27. I'm going to keep being patient and keep working."

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