Matt Garza (photo credit: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Matt Garza was on the mound for a 6-4 win for the Chicago Cubs in what could have been his last start at Wrigley Field.
Garza pitched 6 2/3 innings and gave up two earned runs off of 10 hits while Alfonso Soriano continued his hot July by hitting his sixth home run of the month.
The Cubs bullpen almost gave away another late-inning lead as Blake Parker and Kevin Gregg each surrendered a run in the eight and ninth innings, respectively. After recording two outs in the ninth, Gregg walked the next two batters and gave up an RBI single from Jon Jay to cut the lead to two. Gregg was able to force a groundout from Pete Kozma to pick up the save.
The bullpen has performed well enough recently for Garza to earn his fifth straight win in as many starts. He has only given up six earned runs during that span and struck out 33. Garza is now 6-1 on the season with a 3.17 ERA. The streak he is on has only increased his trade value as the July 31 trade deadline inches closer.
The Wrigley faithful sensed they could be seeing Garza’s last appearance on the mound in Chicago. The sell-out crowd of 42,240 gave the right-hander a standing ovation as he left the game in the seventh inning.
“It’s a great place to play, a great place to pitch,” Garza told the Chicago Tribune. “The fans really embrace you when you do your job. When you don’t, they embrace you, just not in a positive way. I love it here, but it is what it is.”
Garza gave no indication of whether he sensed it was his last start with the Cubs but it seems apparent that his days with the club are numbered. The team will want to take advantage of his trade stock while it’s high before he falters in an outing. With the way he has performed in the past month, the Cubs could get some valuable prospects.
Chances are the next time we see Garza on the mound after the All-Star break, he will be donning the uniform of another team.