To say this has been a strange season would probably be an understatement. We saw everything fromplayers with seemingly little offensive skill putting up spectacular seasons, to 9th inning collapses so bad you had to call into work sick the next day. But perhaps nothing was more strange than Matt Garza's 2009.
Matt Garza had one of the flukier seasons in (Devil) Rays’ history. I wrote about it a few months ago when it was a possibility but now it’s become a reality; Matt Garza finished with the lowest RS/9 in the American League at 3.68, and second place (Jarrod Washburn 3.94) wasn’t particularly close. In fact he has the lowest RS/9 of any (Devil) Rays’ pitcher with 120IP since Scott Kazmir in 2006(3.67), FanGraphs began keeping track of the stat during the 2002 season. Kazmir's 3.67 isn't that shocking considering the Devil Rays scored a Major League low 689 runs that year. Garza on the other hand had a lineup behind him that scored a team record 803 runs which was good for seventh in all of baseball. yet somehow he has the lowest RS/9 in the AL. That is truly amazing considering the talent on 2009 offense as opposed to the horror shows that constituted the lineups for the majority of the 2002-2008 teams.
Since 2002 a Rays' pitcher has only recorded a RS/9 below 4.00 four times. Garza(2009), Kazmir(2006), Jeremi Gonzalez(2003) and Tanyon Sturtze(2002). That 2006 team was lead in OPS by Greg Norton. Enough said.
Garza is nearly the same exact pitcher he was a year ago, with peripheral numbers nearly identical to one another across the board and FIP's of 4.14 and 4.17. The only numbers radically different are the ones in the Wins/Losses columns. We all know that judging a pitcher solely on wins and losses is about the worst way one could go about things, but after awhile you just start to feel bad for a guy. Even last season Garza had the lowest RS/9 on the team at 4.58. Maybe the offense just severely dislikes him, but I doubt that. He's pitched well enough to win at least a dozen games this year, but had to settle for just eight. Maybe he should go cut off the feet of some rabbits, or perhaps sneak into Tampa Bay Downs and make off with a sack full of horse shoes. Until he does here's hoping that the unluckiest pitcher in Rays history can get a little more support next season.