Last time Matt Garza faced the Baltimore Orioles, he was torched for seven runs in 6.1 innings including back-to-back-to-back homeruns to Luke Scott, Ty Wigginton, and Adam Jones . Before tonight's game, he had this to say:
"I'm going to go in there, hair on fire, like I have been and go after them and say, 'Hey, you got me the first time, well I'm going to shove it down your throat this time.' "
From this quote, I expected Garza to come out challenging guys with one 95MPH fastball after another, but, as it turned out, he baffled the O's, and me, by relying heavily on his changeup instead. In his last three starts (Boston, Texas and Oakland) Garza relied on his fastball, only throwing his changeup 6.9% of the time, at most. Tonight, he pulled the string a whopping 25 times (26.3%)! For an O's squad expecting hair on fire, they certainly got doused with cold water.
Later into the night, Garza was a bit erratic, throwing two wild pitches--one leading to a Felix Pie sacrifice fly in the fourth. After walking Scott and Patterson in the sixth, Joe Maddon pulled Garza for Chad Qualls. Qualls, Choate, Benoit, and Soriano closed out the game with little effort. Another fine job by the bullpen.
O's starter Kevin Millwood pitched in typical Millwoodsian fashion tonight (5.2 IP, 7H, 5BB, 4ER) and didn't seem to fool the Rays hitters, especially Carl Crawford. Crawford had two of his three hits off Millwood, a first inning triple and a third inning RBI single. Evan Longoria followed up with a double, scoring Crawford from first base. Both hits came with two outs.
In the fourth, after Reid Brignac singled in Matt Joyce on a bloop to left, John Jaso walked to load the bases with one out. Ben Zobrist hit a sac fly to center, but Crawford couldn't make the two out magic happen again, and struck out looking to end the inning. It's a bit disappointing to only come away with one run with the bases loaded and Millwood struggling, but I'm really just grasping at straws, here.
- Reid Brignac needs to thank Matt Joyce's heads up base running for his RBI in the fourth. Joyce read the ball perfectly as it fell in front of Pie in left field. He busted around third and challenged Pie to make a perfect throw at home--which he couldn't. I love that gutsy running.
- While Millwood didn't fool the Rays hitters, Mark Hendrickson certainly did. Hendrickson pitched three innings in relief and only allowed two hits and at one point struck out four Rays in a row. Does not compute.
- Matt Garza exchanged a few words with Joe Maddon as he was taken out of the game. After the inning, Maddon could be seen barking at Garza who seemed to be ignoring the manager to the best of his ability. We all know Garza's an emotional guy, and I'm sure this will all be fine in the morning. (At least I hope so.)