Even after winning two of three against Philadelphia, the prospect of facing the mighty Phillies for four games was an unwelcoming prospect. As it turns out, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Cliff Lee are on the DL and the Cubs won’t have to face Cole Hamels. After three games in Philly, the Cubs have earned at least a split of the series. Yesterday’s main reason for victory was Matt Garza. He threw 7 scoreless innings, striking out 10. Mr. Garza, how did you do it?
“The game plan was to keep them off balance and try to induce weak ground balls or weak popups and that’s exactly what worked,” Garza said. “Certain things were there and certain weren’t. I threw a curveball about 22 feet high but other than that everything else was cool.”
Jimmy Rollins scored a leadoff hit, which turned out to be the only hit Garza surrendered. Was he thinking about the lost no-hitter?
“Nah, I was just taking it out by out,” Garza said. “That’s what I’ve been doing the last two outings. I just want to go hitter to hitter. You have to have all kinds of respect for those guys because it is the Phillies, you know. They’re a tough team. I just went out there and stuck to my game plan.”
Good to know he doesn’t dwell on no-hitters lost in the first inning. Dale Sveum, what did you see out there?
“When he’s right he has four pitches he can deal with, as well as velocity,” Sveum said. “He can go from 91 [mph] with his sinker and four-seam it up in the zone and get popups and swing and misses. He has a very good knack of what he’s doing out there too.”
Garza said in his first quote that not everything was working out there. What will happen when it is all working?
“If I don’t get in my own way,” he said. “If I don’t try to think too much and go after these guys and get us back in [the dugout]. They were really aggressive and that kind of played into my hand.”
Oh, so the Phillies’ bad plate approach had something to do with his performance. But he was still good.
Even after beating the Cardinals and now the Phillies, we poor Cub fans have nothing real to look forward to until 2014 or so, right? Do you have something to say, Charlie Manuel?
“I don’t personally know Theo Epstein, but I’ve watched some things,” Phillies manager Charlie Manual said. “I think they’ll build their system back up quickly. I think you’ll see some growth on their team probably within the next year or two. You’re going to see a vastly improved team.”
OMG! Charlie Manuel said the Cubs will win the World Series next year! Anything else, Charlie?
“The Cubs could get there real quick, I think,” said Manual, who compared the Cubs to the surging Washington Nationals, and who sounded impressed with the Cubs’ starting pitching and All-Star shortstop Starlin Castro. “Those are the kind of guys that you need when you jump-star your organization. You got two or three of those guys, it’s easier for you to go out and mix [and add] around them.”
Charlie Manuel for President! Now, if only the Cubs outfielders would start hitting some home runs, I might be on board with this schedule. What’s that? Joe Mather hit the first home run by a Cub outfielder yesterday?
“Is that right?” Mather said afterward. “I had no idea. That’s kind of a crazy fact that I would have never guessed.”
Asked if he can now pound his chest when he walks by the starting outfielders, Mather wouldn’t go there.
“No way,” said Mather, who hit his home run with his sister, girlfriend and some nephews in the stands. “I have too much respect for those guys, especially [Soriano]. He’s going to take off here any second.”
Then they might win the World Series this year!