Better believe it: Garza says hes ready to go


Better believe it: Garza says hes ready to go

LOS ANGELES In Matt Garzas mind, theres no doubt that hes on track to start Tuesday night in San Diego.

You better effin believe it, dude, Garza said.

Thats not entirely up to Garza, who felt much better on Saturday after throwing a bullpen and off flat ground at Dodger Stadium. But the Cubs havent pushed him back again either, which looked like a real possibility after shutting down Fridays bullpen.

Its not his decision, manager Dale Sveum said with a laugh. Im glad he thinks that way.

Thats still more than a week too late for a front office that wanted another showcase start or two. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer got plenty of interesting calls about Garza before the trade deadline, even though he hadnt pitched since July 21. The Cubs called it triceps cramping and indicated the MRI on his right elbow was mostly clean, except for traces of fluid.

But the uncertainty made it difficult if not impossible for the Cubs to extract maximum value for Garza, whos 28 and under club control next season. Epstein and Hoyer called the timing unfortunate and seemed to signal that they would be open for business again this winter.

It is a guy you could build a rotation around, Sveum said, but the fact of the matter is you still listen to offers (on) anybody. Thats just the way the game is. (But), yeah, when everythings right, he can go out there with no-hitter stuff.

Garza wont be at that level the next time out, limited to around 70 or 80 pitches. He felt stiff on Friday, though the Cubs said that was to be expected after taking three days off to be with his wife during the birth of their fourth child.

(Im) anxious as hell, Garza said. But Im running my butt off and doing everything I can (to get ready). Getting out there is a different story. I want to get out there first, then Ill worry about pitch counts and all that other crap later.

Complete Cubs-Dodgers NLCS Game 6 coverage on CSN

Complete Cubs-Dodgers NLCS Game 6 coverage on CSN

Tune in to CSN at 6 p.m. for a postseason edition of Cubs Postseason Live as our crew gets ready for Game 6 of the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field. Be sure to flip over to CSN immediately after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on Cubs Postseason Live.

Saturday's starting pitching matchup: Clayton Kershaw (2-0, 3.72 ERA) vs. Kyle Hendricks (0-1, 3.00 ERA)

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Five Things from Blackhawks-Blue Jackets: Same mistakes resurface

Five Things from Blackhawks-Blue Jackets: Same mistakes resurface

COLUMBUS, Ohio – We’ll save you some time tonight. The Blackhawks lost another one in familiar fashion. You can guess what our focus will be, so let’s get right to it.

Here are Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 3-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

1. We’re trying not to pick on the penalty kill again, but… it cost them again. The Blackhawks gave up their 10th and 11th power-play goals in their first five games on Friday night. Opponents are planting themselves in front of Corey Crawford and, be it screens or tips, they’re capitalizing. Long-distance shots are getting through far too often. “I think our focus always has to be 5-on-5. When our effort and our energy and our work ethic is there it usually translates into our special teams and I don’t know. It’s frustrating," Jonathan Toews said. "We definitely have to keep pushing to find a solution. Even when it seems like we’re doing a good job bounces go against us. We deserve all the criticism and we just have to keep finding ways, dig deep and really try to dig ourselves out of this thing.”

2. The seven-defenseman set. Quenneville didn’t want Trevor van Riemsdyk sitting out too long, and for a few days it looked like Brian Campbell was going to be the odd-man out tonight. Instead the Blackhawks went with seven, which gave them the chance to rotate and put Campbell back on his natural left. With that, however, the forward lines were naturally skewed. Patrick Kane played nearly 29 minutes. Quenneville said earlier this season that it wouldn’t be something the Blackhawks would try often. Speaking of van Riemsdyk…

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

3. Van Riemsdyk hurt again. You have to feel for van Riemsdyk. He finally got healthy last season playing in all 82 games after knee and wrist injuries sidelined him the previous one. Now it looks like he’ll be out again after he went hard into the net late in the second period. Van Riemsdyk got tangled up and his right arm/shoulder collided with the post.

4. Tyler Motte gets his first. The University of Michigan product scored his first career NHL goal, a rebound off a Toews shot in the second period. Considering the game’s outcome, however, Motte’s enthusiasm was tempered. “It was exciting. It felt good to chip in offensively but obviously the real story is us losing another game,” he said. “We were better in the offensive zone but there are still some things to improve on. The most important thing is winning games.”

5. Brandon Saad great but stymied. The former Blackhawks left wing had some tremendous scoring opportunities on Friday. He had a team-high seven shots, most high quality, but Crawford stopped him every time. Just in case anyone needed a reminder of what the kid is capable of, regardless of which sweater he’s wearing.