UPDATE: Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com hears that the Rangers are also have interest in Garza.
11:36 PM: According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, the Cubs and Reds are talking about a possible Garza deal. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Jayson Stark was told by an executive that there’s now a “very high chance” that Garza is dealt before Tuesday’s deadline. The Blue Jays are said to be charging hard.
10:16 PM: The assumption has been that Matt Garza will remain with the Cubs through tomorrow’s trade deadline, as he was recently skipped in the rotation due to cramping in his right triceps. However, ESPN’s Jayson Stark is hearing otherwise.
According to Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.com, Garza threw a bullpen session today for the first time since the injury. Cubs manager Dale Sveum said it went “extremely well,” but it’s not clear when he’ll make his next start. Some teams may want to see him pitch again before making an offer, so unless the Cubs are blown away at the last minute, they might be better served to make a deal in the offseason.
Garza, 28, has a 3.91 ERA and 96/32 K/BB ratio in 103 2/3 innings across 18 starts this season. He’s due a raise from his $9.5 million salary this offseason in his final go-around in arbitration.
The Yankees and Astros are set for Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday, and neither team will hold back as they seek a World Series berth. The Astros are prepared to back starter Charlie Morton with any able-bodied pitcher in their ranks — including Justin Verlander, though A.J. Hinch said it would be a “dream scenario” to get anything more from his ace — while the Yankees are prepared to utilize all but a few of their arms. One pitcher you won’t see? Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who last took the hill for the Yankees during their Game 5 shutout on Wednesday.
Tanaka expended 103 pitches over seven scoreless innings in his last start, fending off the Astros with three hits, a walk and eight strikeouts. He hasn’t pitched on fewer than three days of rest all year, and even with a do-or-die scenario facing the Yankees on Saturday night, manager Joe Girardi doesn’t want to compromise his starter’s ability to stay rested and ready for the World Series.
Girardi will also play it safe with fellow right-hander Sonny Gray, who dominated in a five-inning performance in Game 4. All other pitchers should be available and ready to go, though the club is hoping for a lengthy outing from veteran starter CC Sabathia. Sabathia is no stranger to the postseason: over eight separate playoff runs, he touts one championship title and a collective 4.24 ERA in 123 innings. He held the Astros scoreless in his Game 3 start, blanking them over six innings on three hits, four walks and five strikeouts for an eventual 8-1 win.
Even without Tanaka or Gray likely to take the mound for Game 7, the Yankees will enter the series finale with history on their side. Per MLB.com, they have a 4-3 road record in Game 7s and are 6-7 in all 13 Game 7 finales to date. The Astros, on the other hand, dropped their first and only Game 7 clincher back in 2004, when the Cardinals capped the NLCS with a 5-2 win in St. Louis. The teams are scheduled to face off for the first-ever Game 7 at Minute Maid Park on Saturday at 8:00 PM ET.