Garza on struggles: ‘I’ll get to the bottom of it’

Brewers starter Matt Garza has given up 38 earned runs in 57 innings so far this season.

Morry Gash/Morry Gash/Associated Press

MILWAUKEE — Matt Garza is searching for answers as to why he’s mired in one of the roughest stretches of his career.

The right-hander’s struggles continued Tuesday, as he was hit for five runs on eight hits over just five innings in Milwaukee’s 6-3 loss to Madison Bumgarner the San Francisco Giants at Miller Park.

Garza now has a 6.00 ERA on the year, which is by far his highest ERA after 10 starts in any 10 seasons in the big leagues.

"It’s an adversity period in my life, in my career, so you keep going," Garza said. "I’ll just keep pounding the pavement, keep going out there, keep grinding. That’s all I can do.

"My stuff’s there. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t be striking out guys out there. I have to figure out what’s going on. Maybe it’s sequence. Maybe I’m tipping. It’s something. I’ll get to the bottom of it."

Hunter Pence homered off Garza in the first inning to put the Giants up 1-0, while San Francisco added another run on a RBI double by Joe Panik in the third.

Garza was able to limit the damage to just one run in the third thanks to an inning-ending diving play by second baseman Hector Gomez with runners on second and third. But the big inning got him in the fourth, as the Giants scored three runs on five consecutive one-out hits.

Consecutive doubles by Brandon Crawford and Gregor Blanco made it 2-0, while Matt Duffy followed with a two-run home run to center to provide a bit of separation. Garza eventually got out of the inning after a rocket off the bat of Pence was snagged by first baseman Jason Rogers.

Milwaukee was able to score three runs in six innings off Bumgarner, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Garza’s short outing.

"It’s starting to become a trend," Garza said. "I don’t know. I punch out seven guys. I don’t know. To be honest with you, I don’t know what’s going on. It’s frustrating. At the same time, it’s just unreal. They hit balls that go out; we hit balls that don’t go out. It’s frustrating. You have to keep going. You have to keep grinding."

Giants 6, Brewers 3

Garza has allowed 19 earned runs over 14 2/3 innings in his last three starts. A single big inning has cost him in all three, including a 10-run frame in a loss to the New York Mets on May 16.

The two pitchers the Brewers were counting at the top of their rotation have had almost identical bad starts to the season. Kyle Lohse has allowed 38 earned runs in 59 innings, while Garza has given up 38 earned runs in 57 innings.

"He’s having trouble limiting damage and giving up the big hit," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said of Garza. "He got through the first three. They had some chances but he limited the damage. (Two-run) home run (by Duffy), that’s a big inning and that was the difference really."

"We have to figure out how to limit the damage. One run is OK. Two runs are OK. But the big innings, that’s what’s hurting him."

Aramis Ramirez, who has been teammates with Garza with the Cubs and Brewers, simply sees him throwing too many pitches over the heart of the plate.

"He was a good pitcher," Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez said. "I think he still has the stuff. Right now he’s just struggling. His command is not there. You don’t have to walk a lot of people to have your command off.

"When you get hit like that, that means you are throwing a lot of pitches down the middle. Big league hitters won’t miss those. You have to hit your spots and hit the corners if you want to be successful. I’m sure he’s working on it. He knows it. He’s been around."

Before Garza can get to work at fixing his issues, he must first identify what is causing him to continue to struggle.

"I really don’t have any more answers," Garza said. "It’s the same thing every time. So I’m going to just keep going after it. Let’s see what turns up."

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