Matt Garza was limited to two starts after the All-Star break last season due to a stress reaction in his elbow and a lat strain kept him from making his season debut this year until May 21, but he’s heating up at the right time for the rebuilding Cubs.
Garza struck out 10 batters over seven innings of one-run ball in a 7-2 win over the Brewers this afternoon at Miller Park. He has allowed just two runs in 22 innings over his last three starts and now owns a solid 3.83 ERA and 47/15 K/BB ratio in 49 1/3 innings through eight starts this season.
Garza, 29, is making $10.25 million this season and will hit the free agent market this winter. Save for the possibility that the Phillies listen to offers for left-hander Cliff Lee, he could be the top starting pitcher available leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: