Monday, April 25, 2011
Posted: 10:19 p.m. Updated: 12:40 a.m.
By Patrick Mooney
Matt Garza only blamed himself, though it would have been easy to look around and focus on what else went wrong.
Mike Quade tapped his fingers while sitting at the same table in the interview room. The manager didnt pretend to give a positive spin. He spit out words like awful and bad into the microphone.
You believe Garza when he says that personal statistics dont matter. He views his job as pitching deep into games and working late into October. But this has to be frustrating for someone so intensely competitive.
Garza is still waiting for his first win in a Cubs uniform after Mondays 5-3 loss to the Colorado Rockies in front of an announced crowd of 37,417 that was much smaller than that on a miserable night at Wrigley Field.
We lost because I couldnt throw a ball to first base, Garza said afterward. I throw the ball to first base, its a 3-3 game and were still playing. This is the big leagues, man. You cant do anything like that.
Garza played back the fifth inning in his mind. It began with a bunt single and a walk before Garza brushed back Jonathan Herrera as he squared up to bunt.
Herrera responded by dropping a perfect bunt. Garza fielded it and threw the ball into the seats, where it ricocheted back onto the field. That opened up a two-run inning for the Rockies (15-7).
That goes right on my shoulders, Garza said.
Garza did not identify Starlin Castros three errors in the second inning as the turning point. He did not mention 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position or the 12 men left on base. It certainly bothered his manager.
If youre gonna get beat, youd at least not like to gift-wrap the damn thing for the opposition, Quade said. Its great to have talent (and) exciting kids, great to play like a son-of-gun. But if you cant execute (and) make plays (and) tack on a few runsyoure gonna get beat on a regular basis.
You out-hit a club 11-4 and you get beat by two runs I dont think you need to say much more than that.
The Cubs set a major-league record by hitting the .500 mark 10 times on the way to 10-10. Until Garza, Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano start clicking, they will win one game, lose another or worse.
Wed like to not be hanging around, Quade said. Wed like to be five, six over (.500), but I think I understand the reasons were not.
Weve hit the ball well, (but) we havent driven the ball out of the ballpark the way I think were going to. Does the weather have something to do with that? Sure, but it still goes back to getting our pitching straightened out. Im convinced of that.
The Cubs (10-12) watched Darwin Barney smack the first homer of his career, a two-run shot that landed in the left-field basket in the first inning. They also got a career night from Kosuke Fukudome, who had five hits and raised his on-base percentage to .571.
It wasnt nearly enough on a night with this many defensive breakdowns. It fell into the pattern for Garza (0-3, 4.11).
Garza notched 12 strikeouts and allowed 12 hits in his Cubs debut only to have closer Carlos Marmol lose the game in the ninth inning.
Combined the Cubs were outscored 11-0 in Garzas next two starts. Garza then threw six shutout innings last week, but had a victory taken away when Marmol blew another save before the Cubs won in extra innings.
Garza finished with another weird pitching line. He accounted for six innings, gave up three hits, struck out seven and walked only one. But he was charged with five runs one earned.
Hes definitely in form right now and its too bad we cant get the win for him, Barney said. When you got a guy like him on the mound thats an absolute competitor, you want to do everything in your power to help him out. He knows were behind him trying as hard as we can to pick him up.
Patrick Mooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. Follow Patrick on Twitter @CSNMooney for up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.