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)
Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.
Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.
With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.