Garza Goes All the Way – Cubs 7 Brewers 1

Game One Hundred Fifty-Six – Cubs 7 Brewers 1
WP – Matt Garza (9-10) LP – Randy Wolf (13-10) Save – None

wflag.jpg The Twenty-Eleven version of the Chicago Cubs played their final home game of the season Wednesday afternoon and beat the Milwaukee Brewers at their own game. The Cubs out-hit and out-pitched their division rivals.

The Cubs lost the season series with Milwaukee (6-10) but took two of three in this series as the Brewers tried to close out the division.

The young Cubs ended up being the difference in the series. After Geovany Soto and Casey Coleman led the way on Monday night, it was Matt Garza, Starlin Castro and D.J. LeMahieu’s turn on Wednesday … with a little help from Marlon Byrd and Geovany Soto.

Matt Garza tossed a complete game gem … his second nine-inning performance in as many starts. Garza is one of only two pitchers on the Cubs staff to throw nine innings in a start this season (Randy Wells). Garza has completed nine innings of work in three starts … but Wednesday was the first time he’d posted a victory (1-1 with a no decision).

On a day with the wind blowing out, Matt Garza kept the high-powered Brewers offense in check. Garza allowed one unearned run on six hits with a walk, a hit by pitch and 10 strikeouts. Garza threw 123 pitches (88 for strikes) and other than Jerry Hairston, Jr. (2-for-4 with a double) he kept Milwaukee off balance all afternoon.

Starlin Castro’s quest of reaching the 200 hit mark during the homestand fell one short in the last game of the year at Wrigley. Starlin Castro (2-for-3 with a double, a RBI, a run scored and two walks) notched two hits and walked twice, once intentionally. Castro received a standing ovation as he stepped to the plate in the eighth one hit shy. The Brewers did not give him anything to hit.

Starlin Castro reached base for the 34th game in a row and tied a mark set by Woody English in 1929 for the most consecutive games reached base by a Cubs shortstop (34). Castro is nine short of the 43 games Jerome Walton reached safely in 1989.

D.J. LeMahieu (2-for-5 with a double, two RBI and a run scored) got the start at third for the injured Aramis Ramirez. LeMahieu ended up delivering the game winning hit in the fifth inning after Randy Wolf intentionally walked Castro to face him with two outs and the game tied at one. LeMahieu was solid in the field until he lost an infield pop up in the sun in the ninth that was ruled the Cubs’ second error of the game. LeMahieu started two around the horn double plays on Wednesday afternoon.

Marlon Byrd (1-for-4 with a home run and three RBI) gave Garza a lot of breathing room in the sixth. Byrd hit his ninth home run of the year off Wolf and the three-run shot gave the Cubs a 6-1 lead. Bryan LaHair was 1-for-3 with a double, a walk and a run scored hitting out of the eighth spot in Quade’s lineup.

Geovany Soto (3-for-4 with a double, a RBI and a run scored) put together another good game against Brewers’ pitching. Soto doubled in D.J. LeMahieu in the seventh, the Cubs last run of the season at the old ballyard.

Quade’s offense pounded out 13 hits, walked three times and finished the game 4-for-12 with RISP and left seven on base.

The only negative from Wednesday’s game was the two charged errors (Castro and LeMahieu) that added to the Cubs’ league worst total (130).

The Cubs finished the home part of their schedule with a 39-42 mark (4-2 on the last homestand) and the 30,965 on hand Wednesday ran the Cubs attendance total to 3,017,966 for the season … the eighth straight year the Cubs drew over three million in attendance.

With Wednesday’s win, the Cubs improved to 69-87 on the season … 18 games below .500 …

After an unknown delay postponed the first pitch of Wednesday’s game for five minutes, Matt Garza came out throwing strikes and made quick work of the Brewers in the first. Garza retired the Brewers in order on six pitches, five for strikes.

Starlin Castro stepped in three hits shy of 200 to start the bottom of the first. Castro ripped a 2-0 pitch into the left field corner and hustled out of the box with his sights set on third base. Castro was thrown out at third (7-6-5) for the first out of the inning but at least notched his 198th hit of the season. Randy Wolf retired LeMahieu on a grounder to third and Reed Johnson lined out to third to end the inning.

The Brewers did nothing against Garza in the second.

Geovany Soto reached on a bloop single to right with one out in the second … the Cubs first baserunner of the game. Marlon Byrd lined out to second and Soriano struck out swinging to end the inning.

The Brewers got on the board in the third … with held from the Cubs defense.

Yuniesky Betancourt singled to left to start the inning … the Brewers first hit against Garza. George Kottaras struck out swinging. Randy Wolf tried to bunt Betancourt into scoring position but ended up at first after Garza hit him with a 1-0 pitch. Corey Hart hit a grounder up the middle that should have been two. Castro’s shovel to Baker was off the mark and behind Baker, Betancourt scored and the Brewers had runners on first and second with one out and one on the board. Garza struck out Nyjer Morgan swinging and Braun tapped back to Garza to end the inning.

Bryan LaHair led off the bottom of the third with a double. Matt Garza tried to bunt him to second but ended up grounding out to short for the first out.

Starlin Castro ripped Wolf’s first pitch into left. LaHair scored and tied the game at one. LeMahieu struck out swinging and Johnson flied out to center to end the inning.

Matt Garza issued a leadoff walk to Prince Fielder … but that was it for the Brewers in the fourth.

The Cubs did nothing against Wolf in the bottom of the fourth.

Matt Garza ended up facing the minimum in the fifth after giving up a leadoff single to George Kottaras. Randy Wolf struck out and Hart grounded into a 5-4-3 inning ending double play.

Alfonso Soriano led off the fifth with a single to left (0-2 pitch). Bryan LaHair put together a good at bat that resulted in a swinging strikeout (sixth pitch) Matt Garza bunted Soriano to second with one out.

Wolf intentionally walked Castro with the go ahead on second … and LeMahieu made him pay.

D.J. LeMahieu ripped a 0-1 pitch over Morgan’s head in center. With two outs, Castro was running with the crack of the bat. Soriano scored easily and Castro circled the bases and scored the Cubs’ third run Johnson struck out swinging.

At the end of five, the Cubs had a 3-1 lead.

Garza faced the minimum in the sixth. Nyjer Morgan reached on a single to left … but Braun hit into a 5-4-3 double play and Fielder grounded out to second to end the inning.

Jeff Baker led off the sixth with a single to right. Soto blooped a single into center, Baker held at second with no outs. Marlon Byrd lined a 1-2 pitch into the bleachers in left … and gave the Cubs a 6-1 lead. Alfonso Soriano followed with a double to left and advanced to third when LaHair grounded out to second. Garza struck out swinging and Castro grounded out to short to end the inning.

After six, the Cubs led 6-1.

Garza started the seventh with a manageable pitch count (74) and struck out Rickie Weeks swinging for the first out. Hairston, Jr. doubled over Soriano’s head in left but Betancourt flied out to center on the first pitch and Kottaras struck out swinging to end the inning.

The Cubs tacked on a run in the bottom of the seventh against Kameron Loe. LeMahieu led off with a single to right. Reed Johnson followed with a single to left. Blake DeWitt hit for Jeff Baker and grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Geovany Soto ripped a double into left and plated LeMahieu with the Cubs’ seventh and final run. Byrd struck out swinging to end the inning.

Garza struck out pinch-hitter Taylor Green to start the eighth. Corey Hart singled to center but Morgan and Braun lined out to second and short to end the inning. Garza’s pitch count stood at 103 (73 for strikes) after eight innings.

Alfonso Soriano grounded out to short against Michael Fiers to start the bottom of the eighth. Bryan LaHair walked and advanced to second when Matt Garza tapped back to the mound on a 2-2 pitch.

Starlin Castro stepped to the plate to a standing ovation but ended up walking on five pitches. With runners on first and second with two down, LeMahieu popped out to center for the third out.

Matt Garza took the hill to start the ninth … and retired Prince Fielder to start the inning. Craig Counsell hit for Weeks and grounded out to second. Hairston, Jr. singled to left on a 1-2 pitch to keep the game going for Yuniesky Betancourt.

The Brewers’ shortstop swung at and popped up Garza’s first pitch behind the mound. LeMahieu called for the ball but lost it in the sun and dropped the ball. With runners on first and third with two down, Garza struck out Kottaras swinging to end the gameGarza’s tenth strikeout on the afternoon.

Two out of three against the Brewers is always a good thing …

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Thursday is the Cubs’ final off day of the season. Ryan Dempster will face Chris Carpenter on Friday night in St. Louis. The Cubs have six games remaining on the schedule … three in St. Louis and three in San Diego.

Quote of the Day

"Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again." – Bob Feller

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  • Aaron

    I can’t say enough good things about Castro and Garza…WOW…While I still think the Garza trade was a bad deal for the Cubs (as evidenced by them not competing, as I predicted), he’s still a good pitcher to have on your team, and at least build around.

    Can you imagine if the Cubs didn’t have Garza, how awful next year might be?

    Anyway, I’m actually looking forward to next year….provided management doesn’t do any Cubbery type of move, and hire a Coletti, or someone like that to be the next GM. For the first time in a VERY long time (ie.-pre-Hendry), I can see the Cubs starting next year with a predominantly homegrown team. 

    The only thing that really gives me great concern is the pitching. Even in this year’s draft, they really didn’t pick up any big time arms, and Hayden Simpson has been an utter disaster (also as I predicted). Unless Whitenack can come back sooner from TJ surgery, I don’t think they have a prayer, unless they can sign an Edwin Jackson in free agency. Quite frankly, they don’t have much in terms of prospects that will entice other teams to trade an ace-caliber pitcher, or even a #2 for that matter…the Cubs, as many so-called experts have stated, have the most future MLB players in their system right now, but not a single standout player. 

    I fully expect next year’s draft and international free agent signings to be heavy on pitching for the Cubs. And here’s why….typically, young arms progress much more quickly than young bats. Right now, the Cubs have guys like B. Jackson, Vitters, Flaherty, LeMahieu, Ridling, etc., knocking on the door of the big leagues. Then, they have a second wave of even higher projected prospects in this year’s draft coming up through the system. If the Cubs can somehow find a way to infuse a few young arms like and Edwin Jackson (or trade for Danks, or someone like that, who is young, and coming off a down year), and insert Samardzija and Cashner into the rotation.

    E. Jackson
    ….that looks like a pretty damn good rotation to me. Once Danks and Garza get too expensive in about 2 years, then you can bring up your own top arms like Whitenack or McNutt (if he ever figures it out again), or even Maples, Urban, or Jensen if they’re ready.

    The Cubs’ system is loaded with relievers, but short on starters. So, you can probably see why next year the focus is going to be on signing/drafting a lot of young starting-caliber pitchers, especially when they just signed a bunch of high-end bats this past summer both internationally and stateside. 

    • cubtex

      I definately think they need to add 2 starters from outside their organization for next year. Danks,Anibal or Jonathan Sanchez would be my top 3 to target. They will cost…as you said…the Cubs system is severely lacking in top starting rotation prospects. Trade from depth and strength from the system and add one of these 3. How do you suppose they can get rid of Dempster? I don’t think he is going anywhere next year.

  • cubtex

    I made this comment before and I will make it again. For those who continue to call Garza a #3 starter…..IF the Cubs could find 2 starters better than him for next year…I will buy my playoff tickets now.  He has a 3.35 ERA 191 IP 181 Hits and 189 K’s. He is a solid #2 on a playoff team. He was ALCS MVP and he will battle every start. For those keeping track…Chris Archer finished AA with a 4.42 ERA. He got better towards the end and threw 13 innings in AAA with decent numbers, Hak Ju Lee struggled in AA. 100 AB and he hit .190. Brandon Guyer is currently with the Rays and in limited playing time is hitting .206, Chirinos is also with Rays and is hitting .218 and has thrown out only 2 baserunners in 25 attempts(brutal!) and Sam Fuld is Sam Fuld…a feel good story who is hitting .240. So…….this trade is far from over, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!

    • Aaron

      it’s the thought behind the trade I disagreed with…and still do. Guyer has 2 hr, 3 RBI in like 35 AB’s at the MLB level. Chirinos was decent in the minors as a back-up, and kind of like Clevenger (ie.-could play more than just catcher), Fuld wasn’t much, Lee, at least in my opinion is a future All-Star, and Archer is no less than a solid #3 at the MLB level.

      When Hendry made the trade, it was for competing this year when they didn’t have the team to do so. 

      Is Garza a solid building block? Sure, but by the time the Cubs are ready to compete, which is likely 2013 at this point, Garza could’ve been had in free agency without giving up prospects. 

      My point at that time (and still is right now) is that in 2013, guys like Guyer, Archer, and Lee will be hitting their prime while Garza will have maybe 1-2 years of above average pitching left in him, then start a decline, and I’m basing that on his reliance on velocity and how his innings have piled up. 

      As for Dempster, I like the guy, but he’s not going to make the rotation better next year. You’re absolutely right about Jonathan Sanchez, Anibal Sanchez, and Danks…the problem is, the Marlins are said to be spending a lot of money on payroll with their new stadium, and they want to resign Sanchez. The White Sox also need good starting pitching, especially with Peavy’s injury concerns, so it’s doubtful they would trade Danks at this point, unless they got solid young pitching in return (something the Cubs clearly don’t have). And the biggest problem with the Giants is their ill-advised trade for Beltran in which they unloaded Wheeler. Had they kept him, I would’ve said Sanchez is a prime trade target, but I’m not sure anymore with their trade of Wheeler.

      The point is, the Cubs need a plan, and they need to stick with it. Either they go young, or they go veteran….It CANNOT be a little bit of both…it just won’t work with this team. And that’s not to say that they can’t make trades for guys like Garza, Sanchez, etc., but it’s that by doing so, they’re diminishing their own farm system.

      In a lost season like this year, wouldn’t it have been nice to see guys like Struck, Rusin, Jay Jackson, and Archer (when he was still here) battle it out, and see who could hack it for next year, then go from there? Who do the Cubs have now? Lopez and Ortiz. Really?!?!? It’s because they lack a plan, and chose the veteran approach. It’s the same reason Baker, Hill, and Johnson were signed/re-signed. 

      NOTHING this team did under Jim Hendry made any sense, and I am soooooooooooooooooooooo glad he’s gone.

      • Ryan7

        Matt Garza is only 27, and is only going to et better. Look at cliff lee, when he was with the Indians he looked like Garza as of now. A few years later he was one of the top pitchers I. Baseball. So don’t sit there and say Garza only will have 1 or 2 yrs left in him. He just might end up like cliff lee. You never know. I would do a trade just like the Garza trade if we end up with another pitcher like Garza. Garza has had the worse luck behind him one the field when he pitched. His stats are all good all but his W/L.

        • Aaron

          Garza is only 27, but a LOT of mileage on his arm, which is PRECISELY what led to Zambrano’s decline as a power pitcher. Cliff Lee does NOT rely on velocity, and neither does Halladay (though he can hit mid 90’s when necessary). Halladay and Lee rely a lot on deception (moving the batter’s line of sight up and down), and Halladay has a killer sinker.

          Garza, like Zambrano used to, relies almost exclusively on power and a wicked breaking pitch (Z had a wicked slider). Now that Z’s velocity is gone, he’s had to reinvent himself, and it hasn’t worked out. So, my concern with Garza breaking down is valid.

          Don’t get me wrong….Garza is a good pitcher, but he’s not a #1, and the Cubs paid for him like an ace in terms of prospects, and they will have to pony up the cash this offseason in arbitration or extension too.

          Again, my point was “COMPETING”….and the Cubs clearly were nowhere near consideration as a “contending team” this year, so why do that trade?!?

          What’s even more perplexing is Ricketts not mandating a house cleaning of veterans at the deadline or in August when guys like Johnson, Baker, Soto, ARAM, and even Pena and Byrd were in demand.

          Now, they’re going into an offseason in which they could conceivably lose all but Soto (arbitration), Byrd (under contract) and ARAM (draft pick…though I debate Levine on that) for nothing.

          I just don’t understand they way of thinking. That’s why I said you MUST have an organizational plan. If you don’t, you end up with a misfits on a team that’s going nowhere.

          It’s the tallest midget argument. What difference does it make if Dawson, Sandberg, or Sosa led the league in home runs (all happened by the way) if the team is at the bottom of the standings?!?!? What about pitching? Maddux, Wood, Zambrano, etc. were at the top in terms of ERA, wins, etc. at some points in their careers on losing Cubs teams. What difference did that make? Baseball is such a team sport, where you CANNOT make a difference if someone leads the league in ERA or wins an MVP by hitting 40 bombs and 120 RBI, unless the sum of all the parts around that guy are performing at above average levels.

          So, yes, Garza might be the best pitcher to where Cubbie pinstripes in a generation, but what good will it do if they don’t put a competitive team around him? If the Cubs go out and sign Edwin Jackson, Broxton, Capps (in order to move Samardzija and Cashner to the rotation), and maybe make a trade for both of the Sanchez pitchers or Danks….PLUS, sign a Fielder or Pujols….then I’d say they’re serious about winning. But if they don’t, then the Garza trade was pointless.

      • cubtex

        Where we differ is that you are saying thar Lee is a future All Star and Archer will be no worse than a #3. If you can guarantee that……then sure, I see your point. The fact remains that there is a better chance of neither those things happening. Archer has big time command issues and Lee will struggle offensively imo and we have Castro.

        • Aaron

          Lee is very fast, and is a better SS defensively than Castro in the opinions of a majority of scouts. He will be like an Ichiro-lite type of hitter.

          Castro is superior offensively, as he clearly has developed some power, but Lee is faster and better defensively. I always hoped the Cubs would have Lee at SS and Castro at 2B or 3B in the future, but obviously that can’t happen now with the trade.

          Archer improved dramatically as the season went on, and my original prediction that the Cubs gave up on the better arm of the two (Archer vs McNutt) has proven true….at least for now. Archer, Guyer, and Lee were the keys to the trade, and my point of the sum of all the parts surrounding a given player is true.

          Wouldn’t it have been more advantageous for the Cubs to keep those three, thus preventing them from keeping Baker, Johnson (or giving Colvin more time), and Ortiz/Lopez? Granted, you’d have Garza’s hole in the rotation, but my point is that I think it would’ve been better to have given those guys experience than allowing veterans to play out the string.

          We’ll know in a year or two if this was a good trade or not. Right now, it’s about a wash, considering the limited impact Garza’s had on this team.

          • cubtex

            Prospects are not a sure thing at all…you should know that more than anyone since it seems you study the minor leagues at all levels. I would not go as far and say Archer improved dramatically. His WhIP was still higher than the Rays would like due his lack of command. My point is that players like Archer and Lee still need a lot to happen in the next couple of years and it is possible that neither will ever be valuable MLB players. Archer could be at best a middle relief pitcher and Lee might never be a starter since he is not near the offensive prospect that Tim Beckham is. Lee struggled badly in AA. There have been many more Mike Caruso’s than Starlin Castro’s. Garza is already an established top of the rotation starter. As you even said…….Can you imagine what the Cubs rotation would be next year if they didn’t have Garza? Exactly my point since the trade was made. The only pitching prospect they gave up for Garza was Archer….and would you really be confident penciling him in the Cubs rotation for 2012 based on his year at AA? Now…they have Garza,Dempster and Cashner for next year. Add a Jonathon Sanchez and Edwin Jackson…and it is possible that they can compete for a division next year. This is the Nl Central and it can be turned around quickly.

  • Ripsnorter1

    My problem?

    I picked the Cubs to go 70-92. They must go 1-5 in their last six games for that to happen. 

    I dunno.

    LaHair has added some “ooomph” to the lineup and he has won a few games for us. 

  • John_CC

    I just got home from watching a lot of baseball from a stool.

    The 4-letter was scrolling across the bottom of the screen every couple minutes that Aramis had opted out of his contract…will seek free agency…”would like to remain a Cub but wanted to see that the team was dedicated to improve…” something like that, I am paraphrasing, it was by way of his agent of course. I thought, How Ironic! By letting you walk, Aramis, they are showing that they are trying to improve. Sad.

    End season numbers don’t mean anything after you swung out of contention by May.  I used to love watching Aramis come to the plate with the game on the line…that was 3 years ago. Goodby and good luck.  I think we are better without him.

    And great work, Garza! What a gem. 0 bb and 10 K. vs. that lineup, great job.

    Now, will LeMehieu finish out the starts at third, or DeWitt???????

    • paulcatanese

      John, ironic that Aram would like to remain but wanted to see that the team was dedicated to improve. I want to puke at that one. Why hasn’t he showed up in April “dedicated” himself. That guy has given the Cubs 1/2 of a season for a few years now. that comment by him has me so upset that your’e comment goodby and good luck was too kind and I agree just let him walk.

  • Relkcim

    Where can I find the 6th inning Fan Cam footage from this?