It’s always interesting to see how much stock folks who analyze or watch baseball put into a performance in the spring. Is there a certain amount of predictions we could make off of exhibitions? Probably some, but not much.
This is especially true for pitchers, and even more especially true for Matt Garza. Though he’s considered the best pitcher on the roster, Garza has been very below average in his two spring starts.
His most recent start, on Sunday against the Dodgers, looked an awful lot like his first. After a strong first inning, Garza struggled in the second, as he was chased after allowing four runs on 1 1/3 innings.
So after a pair of mediocre starts, is there any reason at all to be concerned about Garza? Absolutely not.
I’m not saying that there’s a huge number of people out there that are worried about Garza’s performance, but I’ve heard whispers, mainly noting the fact that he hasn’t been particularly effective in either of his appearances.
First of all, it’s spring training. For that fact alone, there’s not much to be concerned. But further than that, Garza knows exactly what he’s doing out there on the mound.
Garza, as most pitchers do during the spring, has been focusing on his fastball and changeup. Both of his appearances included a heavy dose of both, leaving hitters locked in on that fastball, which has gotten him into quick trouble. But that’s what the spring is for, so Garza can focus on working on whatever he feels needs work, even if opposing batters are able to make him pay for it.
It’s not like this is the first time Garza has struggled in the spring. He did so last year, in his first season with the Cubs, posting an ERA over 10. So in the event that you were at all concerned with how below average Garza has looked, at least on the stat sheet, in his first two starts, especially compared to the other pitchers that are fighting for a rotation spot, don’t be.