Matt Garza Debut game thread and mini series preview

seriespreview

Here's a preview of today's game. I'll add info on the rest of the series later tonight.

Pitching Matchup

Matt Garza, RHP (-,-,-,3.63) vs Wandy Rodriguez, LHP (3.25, 125, 3.99, 3.73), 6:05 PM CT

Garza is finally back! He looked sharp in his rehab outings, capping it off with a six strikeout, zero walk six-inning shutout in Iowa his last time out. He'll be restricted to 85-90 pitches, but it vibes like everything is already working for him. A good indicator that he's back in the groove is if he gets lots of grounders tonight.

Wandy's having yet another solid season. I couldn't believe it when I picked him up for peanuts in my FLB league, especially considering that this league counts QS instead of wins. He's had good luck with BABIP this year (hence the low ERA) and bad luck with fly balls (hence the not so great FIP). His TTL is probably somewhere in the middle. Wandy's pretty much a fastball-sinker-curveball guy, and his curve is a bit of a yakker which is always fun to watch. 

Team Overviews

  Cubs Buccos
wRC+ 94 (10th) 97 (8th)
BSR -0.7 (8th) 3.9 (3rd)
UZR -0.6 (6th) -1.3 (9th)
DRS 0 (11th) 3 (7th)
SP FIP- 97 (6th) 108 (11th)
RP FIP- 111 (12th) 94 (7th)

Overall, that's about what I expected for the Pirates. They're an average team, which is a huge improvement on what they've been for the last two decades.

Injuries

Andrew McCutchen has a sore knee and is day to day. SP James McDonald hit the DL with shoulder soreness at the beginning of the month. He's started throwing again but his return is still weeks away. Fellow SP Jeff Karstens was shut down in spring training with shoulder soreness. He's throwing again and needs a few more rehab starts before joining the team. Charlie Morton had TJS last June, and is almost back to the big league team. He's made a few rehab starts, one was shut down for shoulder soreness. At least it's not the elbow I guess.

Garza's back, so there's not much to report on the injury front for the Cubs. 

Other pitching matchups

Wednesday: Jeff Samardzija, RHP (3.49, 85, 3.21, 3.47) vs Francisco Liriano, LHP (1.64, 38, 2.53, 3.39), 6:05 PM CT

The Pirates were all set to sign Liriano to a 2/12.5 deal last December, but Liriano broke his non-throwing arm. The contract negotiations dragged on until February until the final contract was a one year, one million dollar contract with an option for 2014. That's an expensive arm injury. Liriano has rewarded their perserverence with two great starts since coming off the DL, and if he  pitches to his projection that deal will be the steal of the offseason. I'm kind of surprised that a non-throwing arm injury would kill his value that much. 

Samardzija did it all in his last start, striking out seven in eight innings and making up for his two runs allowed by hitting a two-run homer. It seemed to me that he was walking a lot more batters this year, but his BB% is up by less than a percentage point from last year's numbers. 

Thursday: Edwin Jackson, RHP (5.76, 98, 3.84, 3.70) vs Jeanmar Gomez, RHP (2.78, 141, 4.41, 4.60), 11:35 AM CT

Even if Jackson pitches to his FIP the rest of the way, it's going to take a long time to drag that awful ERA down. A big part of that nasty ERA is a 57.8% strand rate, which I'm going to go out on a limb and say is not sustainable. He's coming off two okay-to-good starts, but he hasn't had a truly dominant start all year.

Gomez is filling in while most of the Pirates rotation is on the mend. He's had problems with the HR ball, but his four starts look decent until you look at the IP totals (4, 5, 5, 4.2). Looks like it's a bullpen day on getaway day. He's a sinker-slider-changeup guy, emphasis on sinker.

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