For all the talent, the no-hitter and helping the Rays to two division titles in three years, one thing is certain about Matt Garza: he is a head-case. And if his first spring training with the Cubs is any indication, not much has changed.
Garza has given up 15 runs in 13.2 innings (9.88 ERA) with more walks (10) than strikeouts (9). And in his latest outing, Garza found yet another excuse for his failings. This time it was the mound.
According to Dave van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune, Garza blamed his latest poor outing (6 baserunners and 3 runs in 3 innings) on “the slant of the [Mariners' spring training field] mound.” Garza was unable to “find a good landing spot,” and ended up with a hamstring that tightened up on him.
Now keep in mind, this is the second time he has pitched on this field this spring. And presumably, he threw some warm-up pitches from the mound prior to the first inning. If there was indeed a problem with the mound, we’re sure the Mariners would have been happy to fix it for him. And certainly the Cubs would have been willing to pull him from the scheduled start, rather than risk an injury.
Garza added that he had to “alter [his landing spot] so many times it was hard to get back to normal.” Not exactly the sort of thing a pitcher should be working on during a spring start.
Hey, we’ll miss the occasional gem. But we’re not going to miss the mental breakdowns.