Get used to hearing about Matt Garza a lot around here over the next couple of weeks, as he figures to be the most popular name on the market leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Fortunately for the Cubs, he has been doing his part to bolster his value recently.
While Garza gave up a season-high 10 hits last night, he managed to hold the first-place Cardinals to just two runs in 6 2/3 innings as part of a 6-4 win at Wrigley Field. The 29-year-old right-hander has now won five straight starts and holds a 1.24 ERA over his last six. His ERA is down to 3.17 for the year while he has a fine 62/20 K/BB ratio 71 innings.
Garza is set to become a free agent following the season, so he might be the most obvious candidate to be moved by the end of the month. Teams like the Indians, Red Sox, Dodgers, Nationals, Rangers, Blue Jays, and Giants have all been mentioned as possible landing spots. There has been some chatter about a potential contract extension, but the competition for his services should net the rebuilding Cubs a top prospect or two.
Your Saturday box scores:
Reds 2, Braves 5
Twins 4, Yankees 1
Blue Jays 7, Orioles 3
Nationals 1, Marlins 2 (10 innings)
Astros 3, Rays 4
Rockies 0, Dodgers 1
Royals 3, Indians 5
Mets 2, Pirates 4
Rangers 7, Tigers 1
Brewers 4, Diamondbacks 5
Red Sox 0, Athletics 3
Giants 9, Padres 0
Angels 0, Mariners 6
White Sox 5, Phillies 4 (11 innings); White Sox 1, Phillies 2 (13 innings)
Here are the Cubs and Cardinals lineups for Game 2 of the NLDS. First pitch is scheduled for 5:37 p.m. ET in St. Louis:
CF Dexter Fowler
RF Jorge Soler
3B Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
2B Starlin Castro
LF Austin Jackson
C Miguel Montero
SP Kyle Hendricks
SS Addison Russell
Cubs manager Joe Maddon has made a number of changes with a left-hander on the mound for St. Louis. Jorge Soler will start in right field and bat second base while Kyle Schwarber is on the bench. Meanwhile, Austin Jackson will start over Chris Coghlan in left field. Miguel Montero is behind the plate after David Ross caught Jon Lester in Game 1 on Friday. Finally, Kyle Hendricks will bat eighth while Addison Russell will hit ninth, which he did often during the regular season.
3B Matt Carpenter
RF Stephen Piscotty
LF Matt Holliday
CF Jason Heyward
SS Jhonny Peralta
1B Brandon Moss
C Yadier Molina
2B Kolten Wong
SP Jaime Garcia
The Cardinals’ lineup isn’t much different from Game 1 against left-hander Jon Lester, but there is one notable change with a right-hander on the mound. Randal Grichuk is out while Brandon Moss is in. Stephen Piscotty played first base in Game 1, but he’ll be in right field this afternoon. This means that Moss will start at first base. Yadier Molina reported no issues with his thumb in Game 1 and is right back in there to catch Garcia.
We often hear that someone “tattooed” a baseball. Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy took that literally with his home run against Clayton Kershaw last night.
According to Statcast, Murphy’s fourth-inning solo blast against Kershaw left the bat at 104.9 mph and traveled an estimated distance of 415 feet. He actually hit the ball so hard that his name ended up being imprinted on it from his bat. No joke. Check it out below…
Here’s the video of the home run:
After seven seasons in Detroit, impending free agent catcher Alex Avila will likely be playing elsewhere next season. Avila’s father, Tigers general manager Al Avila, confirmed as much in his comments to the media Thursday.
Here’s a quote from Chris Iott of MLive.com:
“I don’t really see it as a priority,” Al Avila said Thursday during a season-ending meeting with media members. “Right now, (James) McCann is our starting catcher and (Bryan) Holaday is coming back but is out of options. Basically, Holaday has to be our backup catcher or he’s out of options.”
Avila has had a heck of a run in Detroit, including an All-Star appearance in 2011, but this is a business and it’s logical why the Tigers are moving on. The 28-year-old dealt with knee problems this season while batting just .191 with four home runs and a .626 OPS in 219 plate appearances. He actually had more walks (40) than he did hits (34) while falling into a backup role.
With McCann now at the top of the depth chart and Holaday as his projected backup, Avila believes that his son will likely find an opportunity on the open market “that might be more beneficial to him.”