It was quite clear tonight that Matt Garza had great stuff in his return to the rotation after 10 months in injury-induced banishment – he didn’t give up a hit until the 5th inning, and it was a poke blooper by Clint Barmes. What he didn’t have was perfect command of his pitches, which you would expect in his first start in such a long time. Don’t read that as a knock on his start, because I don’t mean it that way. I mean only that he went deep into counts with a lot of hitters, and ran up his pitch count early. You’d have liked to have seen him go deeper into the game, but, all in all, you just can’t complain about that start.
And thus ended the meaningful portion of the game.
From there, the bullpen conspired to blow the game in favor of the Pirates, and, on the flip side, you ain’t coming back on the Pirates’ bullpen this year (though the Cubs did make sure to do their teaser rally in the 9th, scoring on Jason Grilli and leaving the tying run at third).
Darwin Barney had a ridiculously awesome night, by the way. So I guess he and Garza are the story, even though everyone will focus on the loss and this …