Garza 'frustrated' after lackluster Brewers performance
MAY 17, 2014 7:00p ET
Matt Garza settled in to throw six of his best innings of the season Saturday afternoon, but yet another rough first inning was all that mattered with the lack of run support he received.
In what has become a trend, Garza was shaky early and the Chicago Cubs capitalized for all three of their runs in the first inning. Edwin Jackson took things from there, as the right-hander struck out 11 over seven scoreless innings to lead the Cubs to a 3-0 victory at Wrigley Field.
"There wasn't much going on," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said of his team's offense. "We didn't do anything."
Garza's ERA in the first inning is now 10.00, with 10 of the 29 earned runs he's allowed coming in the opening frame. Like he has over his last two starts, Garza settled in and kept the Brewers in the game. He retired 18 of the 20 batters he faced after the first, including Darwin Barney reaching on an error by third baseman Jeff Bianchi in the second inning. Emilio Bonifacio led off with a bunt single but stood at second base with two outs in the first inning. Garza fell behind 2-0 on Starlin Castro before allowing an RBI double to center. After a walk to Nate Schierholtz, Welington Castillo hit a slider up and out over the plate for a two-run double.
"First inning was a hiccup, and it sucks," Garza said. "That's kind of been what it's been like all year, it just sucks. I'm just going to keep going, keep grinding, keep working out and keep going. It's going to come together sooner or later."
The Brewers have been able to overcome Garza's last two rough first innings, but Saturday was a different story against Jackson. As inconsistent of a pitcher as there is in baseball, Jackson allowed four singles and a walk in seven innings.
Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy had back-to-back singles with two outs in the first inning but were stranded when Mark Reynolds struck out looking. As it turned out, Milwaukee would have just two more baserunners the rest of the way and never mounted much of a comeback attempt.
"We need to get some more runs obviously," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "The pitchers have been throwing so well that they've been keeping us in games. It would be nice to come out and get a bunch of runs for them. We'll certainly do better than what we have been doing."
Milwaukee has now been shut out four times this season with three of them coming with Garza on the mound. The Brewers had scored 14 runs in his last two starts but now have plated just three runs over his four losses.
"If it happens a lot it can," Roenicke said when asked if a lack of run support can impact a pitcher. "Then it becomes him going out and trying to be perfect. It's hard to pitch that way.
"First inning on, you feel like if you get behind that you are going to lose the game. That shouldn't be the case with our offense. We should still have a chance. He did his part -- he threw six zeros up after that. We didn't do anything."
Signed to a four-year, $50 million contract this winter, Garza now sits at 2-4 with a 4.80 ERA through nine starts. The Brewers are 5-4 when he's pitched, but the right-hander is not throwing the ball with the consistency he expects out of himself. However, the way Garza threw the ball after the first inning Saturday was encouraging. "Of course I'm frustrated, man," Garza said. "What, do you think I'm happy? It's the worst freakin' start (to a season) of my career, dude. Yeah, I'm frustrated. I hate this, I hate this feeling. It's just keep grinding and keep getting ready every five days. That's about it. That's about all I can do."
Gomez sits: With his suspension over, Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez was initially in the lineup Saturday. But after taking batting practice, Gomez was a late scratch due to back spasms. Gomez left Tuesday's game in the sixth inning with tightness in his back and then elected to serve his three-game suspension, leaving him eligible to play Saturday. Without Gomez in the lineup, left fielder Elian Herrera moved up to the leadoff spot and Logan Schafer played center field and hit seventh.
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