MIAMI Matt Garza walked off the mound shaking his head, and it looked like he had some words for home-plate umpire Brian ONora. He disappeared into a tunnel leading out of the dugout.
I always say something on my way out, Garza said, good or bad.
Marlins Park is loud, flashy and unpredictable, and that might as well describe Garzas personality. Its early reputation for being a pitchers park couldnt stop the two balls crushed by Donnie Murphy and Hanley Ramirez.
Those two two-run homers set off the flashing lights and water works on the pop-art sculpture that reportedly cost 2.5 million.
Chairman Tom Ricketts and several other high-level Cubs executives toured the futuristic stadium on Wednesday, and they watched their team get dismantled during a 9-1 loss in front of 25,723 fans.
Garza wanted two pitches back, the 93 mph fastball Murphy lifted over the left-field wall, and the Frisbee slider Ramirez hammered to left-center. You couldnt blame him if he felt like he had to be perfect.
If I start being perfect, its going to turn into one big old circus, Garza said, trying to dot every i and cross every t. So Im just going to keep doing what Ive been doing my whole career, and thats keep going after the next one, keep getting ready and hit that pavement and grindstone. Lets go.
This guaranteed the Cubs (3-9) will lose their first four series of the year, and there are warning signs all around. Theyve scored more than four runs only three times this season. Marlon Byrd is hitting .081 (3-for-37). The bullpen is waiting to see how Kerry Woods right shoulder responds to a cortisone injection.
Were not giving them much of a lead (or) scoring any runs, manager Dale Sveum said. So its tough for the starting pitchers to just know that they have to be perfect all the time.
Garza (1-1, 3.66 ERA) was pulled after five-plus innings and was charged with six runs. He had failed to execute a sacrifice bunt earlier and grabbed a bat.
Sveum had trouble suppressing a smile: He thought he was going to hit. He was going to get some swings down in the tunnel. We got a little tee and the net down there.
Garza said: Yeah, I wanted to go square up in the mirror and just kind of see where I was at in the stance, stuff like that.
Whether the Cubs admit it or not, the frustration level has to be rising.
Mark Buehrle, whos spent almost his entire life in the Midwest, doesnt exactly scream South Beach. But the Marlins gave him a four-year, 58 million contract to reunite with Ozzie Guillen and recreate some of the World Series magic they discovered with the 2005 White Sox.
Garza couldnt match Buehrle (1-2, 2.66), who sliced through the Cubs lineup, allowing one run on six hits. He struck out five while walking none, taking advantage of a team thats overanxious.
He had his A-game, utility man Jeff Baker said. Guys are busting their tail in the cage. We have an approach. Were just not executing right now. Unfortunately, thats the way it goes. Sometimes when you try to get on the gas a little more and go harder, harder, harder, it gets worse. Hopefully, guys will just relax and we can have better at-bats when we need to have em.