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Sweet, Sweet Progress

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Something that's going to get lost in the near bullpen meltdown and epic Longoria at-bat last night will be Matt Garza's performance, similar to how James Shields' performance was ignored on Friday night. Since the blow-up with Dioner Navarro in Texas Garza has made seven starts, and he's looked like Shields during them.

 

Pitcher IP/S K/9 BB/9 HR/9
Shields 6.5 7.2 1.67 0.97
Garza 6.9 7.7 1.5 0.56


Pretty impressive, no? It's incredible when you consider Garza is only 24, nearly two years younger than Shields, and yet he's made amazing progress this season. Of course I'm sure some will say the meeting with a sports psychologist and the improved results are simply coincidental, and not only is that possible, but it's actually likely. Since Garza returned from the disabled list in late April he's been stellar, not as a good as he has been his last seven starts, but still very, very good. Almost as if he was actually injured. In those 16 combined starts Garza has a K/9 of 6.4, a BB/9 of 2.48, and is averaging nearly 6.4 innings per start.

A similar progression has been made by Andrew Sonnanstine. After a start in Oakland Sonnanstine was quoted stating that he "[K]new what the problem was and was going to fix it." Whatever Sonnanstine did has improved his performance in the past nine starts. An average of 5.59 innings per start, 5.9 strikeouts per nine, 1.43 walks per nine, and 0.54 homeruns per nine, which is actually lower than Garza's during his seven game stretch.

If nothing else be encouraged by the progression that some of our young pitchers have made this season. It hasn't been without some bumps, but we're finally at a point as a team and organization where young pitchers will actually progress as they should, rather than be shipped off or simply never get better.