After beating his old club last month for his first victory with the Milwaukee Brewers, former Chicago Cubs hurler Matt Garza made some headlines with his postgame comments.
The right-hander will try to back his words Saturday when he makes his first start at Wrigley Field since the Cubs moved him close to last year’s trade deadline.
Garza (2-3, 4.98 ERA) spent parts of three seasons with Chicago before getting dealt to Texas on July 22. In January, he became the most expensive free agent in Milwaukee’s history with $50 million guaranteed over his four-year contract.
In his first look at the Cubs (13-27) since the trade, Garza allowed two runs and four hits with a season high-tying seven strikeouts over seven innings in a 5-2 win April 25.
Afterward, the nine-year veteran compared his experience with the NL Central-leading Brewers (27-15) to his two and a half seasons in Chicago.
"When you go through three years of constantly hoping, you kind of run out of hope," he told the team’s official website. "Come to a team like this, where every day we’re going out to win – not hoping to win – it’s a lot different. A lot different emotion, a lot better emotion."
Garza, who went 21-18 with a 3.45 ERA in 60 starts with the Cubs, went on to claim he lost 30 wins over that span. He also offered some advice to Jeff Samardzija, saying the winless ace should just "pitch your way out of there."
Less than a week after Garza spoke out, Chicago general manager Jed Hoyer downplayed the comments.
"I think being traded is a hard thing emotionally for people," Hoyer said. "Even in a situation like that, where we had a good relationship with him, I think there’s probably a feeling of rejection, for lack of a better word. People say emotional things when asked about it because there’s some resentment, that’s OK."
Garza did not factor in the decision Sunday, allowing three first-inning runs before giving up none over the next four in a 6-5 win over the New York Yankees. He’s 12-7 with a 2.70 ERA in 28 starts at Wrigley.
He’ll try to help the Brewers extend their dominance in this rivalry after they improved to 24-8 in the last 32 meetings by beating Samardzija 4-3 in Friday’s series opener.
Milwaukee, an NL-best 13-5 on the road, could be getting a boost offensively with Carlos Gomez recovering from a sore back and eligible to return from a three-game suspension. Ryan Braun might play after resting his previously strained oblique Friday, when the Brewers won for the fifth time in six games.
Braun is 25 for 48 with five homers and 18 RBIs during a 12-game hitting streak against Chicago. He’s 5 for 13 with three doubles versus Saturday’s starter Edwin Jackson (2-3, 4.56) since 2012, though Gomez is 1 for 15 with five strikeouts lifetime in the matchup.
Jackson, who allowed three runs over six innings in Sunday’s 5-2 loss at Atlanta, is 1-4 with a 4.71 ERA in his last five starts against the Brewers.
Starlin Castro is 10 for 24 in his last five games for last-place Chicago, which has dropped three straight and 10 of 12.
Although Luis Valbuena is 6 for 12 in his last three games, he’s hitless in eight at-bats when facing Garza. Chris Coghlan has gone 4 for 5 with three doubles and a triple in the matchup, but he’s 3 for 20 on the season.