Garza Instrumental to Brewers’ Success Moving Forward by Andrew Dunn-Bauman
Has Matt Garza finally figured it all out?
The big offseason acquisition for the Brewers has had his struggles so far in 2014, searching to iron out his mechanics and become the dominant starter that the team shelled out big bucks for. Statistically speaking, Garza is having the worst season of his career since he was a rookie with the Minnesota Twins in 2006. But Garza shut down those very Twins on Monday night, pitching six and one-third scoreless innings against the team that drafted him, and lowering his season ERA to 4.42.
The Brewers signed Garza last offseason to a four-year $50 million contract, in the hopes of bolstering their starting rotation to the point of true contender status in the NL Central. And so far the pitching staff has been a major strength on this club, though Garza has the highest starter’s ERA on the team. The problem for Garza has typically been trouble with his command early on, leading to a problem inning or two that run his pitch count up and balloon his ERA along with it.
But Garza’s start Monday against the Twins was indicative of a pitcher who has started to find his groove on the mound.
“I felt great,” Garza said after his first scoreless outing of the season. “My mechanics are right where I want them to be.”
Garza had all of his pitches working on Monday. He was able to keep Twins hitters guessing by mixing in his slider and curveball for strikes, and kept his pitches down in the strike zone. If he continues with an increased level of effectiveness over the grueling summer months to come, it’s big time trouble for the rest of the NL Central.
Three of the five Brewer starting pitchers are already pitching highly effectively, and Marco Estrada has been more than serviceable as a fifth starter. If Garza is finding his stride, that’s four front end starters that the Brewers are trotting out on a regular basis. Combine that with a bullpen that continues to shatter expectations (Will Smith- wow) and the Brewer pitching staff is a formidable one at the top of the NL Central.