Its Tuesday. and its time for Andrew Dunn-Bauman's weekly Brewers Blog
Can Garza Help Crack the Secret Code? By Andrew Dunn-Bauman
It’s been 32 years since Mike Caldwell tossed a complete game shutout for the Milwaukee Brewers to open the 1982 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Unfortunately, that was the last time the Brewers had a quality start against the Redbirds.
OK, that might be a bit of an exaggeration. But it certainly feels as though it’s been decades since a Brewer starter dominated the Cardinals. Brewer pitching has been absolutely lit up by the Cards in recent years, and new signing Matt Garza could be just the remedy the team needs to right the ship against their rivals from the Show-Me State.
Over the course of his two-plus seasons with the Chicago Cubs from 2011-2013, Garza compiled a 3-1 record against the Cardinals, with a 2.88 ERA over six starts. Compare that with the Brewer pitching staff last year, which contributed to the team’s dismal 5-14 record against the Cards with a 5.46 ERA against them.
Now, are those numbers skewed by just a couple of starters struggling mightily against St. Louis? Let’s take a look:
Yovanni Gallardo in 2013 versus St Louis? 0-2 record, 5.40 ERA.
Kyle Lohse? 1-3, 4.88 ERA.
Wily Peralta? 1-3, 7.71 ERA.
For the love of Hank, Marco Estrada? 0-1, 6.51 ERA.
Ouch. You might be able to sense a trend here of inadequacy in starting pitching against the St. Louis Cardinals. Or, that trend may have just slapped you in the face. But don’t worry if your cheek starts to swell up in a rage of heated fury, because Matt "The Ice Pack" Garza is here to cool things down and win some big-time ballgames for the Crew this season against the preseason NL Central favorites.
Scratching a few more wins across against the elite of the division in 2014 is essential to Milwaukee’s playoff hopes, as is Garza’s success and his ability to stay healthy. Brewer fans must hope that his elbow holds up for the duration of the season, that he continues to pitch well against the Cardinals, and that he can somehow impart some wisdom to the other starters on the staff about how to pitch versus St. Louis.
Garza just might help the Brewers unravel the mystery that is the Cardinals’ lineup. And if he does, expect the Crew to look a lot more like real contenders than they did last year.
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