Live From Rochester: Wings Blow Garza's Start

Garza threw only 69 pitches on Sunday.

In this edition of Live From Rochester, the Red Wings blow an important start for Matt Garza. After allowing him to toss 120+ pitches in his last start, Garza was pulled with the score tied in the fifth inning, after throwing only 69 pitches on Sunday. Coupled with a Scranton win, the Wings are now a game back of the Red Barons for first in the IL North.

This was a bad day for the Rochester Red Wings. I'm not really sure what the logic was in today's game at all. In what appeared to be almost overcompensation for the high pitch count in Matt Garza's last start, he was basically wasted today, going only five innings and throwing only 69 pitches. It made no sense. And he left the game with the score tied 2-2. Wings went on to lose the game in the eighth, when the Bulls scored the winning run with two outs on a passed ball by Shawn Wooten. A fitting way to lose a strange ballgame.

With the loss, and the Scranton victory, the Wings are now a game out of first place in the International League North. I'm not sure I totally understand the rationale of pitching Garza only 5 innings, unless Stan Cliburn was under orders to do so. This was his fourth start. No reason to remove him so early in a close game. It's one thing to be ‘cautious', but here's a guy who has pitched all season. 69 pitches is hardly breaking a sweat at this point in the year. And with the Wings bullpen so thin, this didn't help at all. I'm very disappointed in the way this game was played.

While the Wings' hitting was not good either, the very shoddy defense has been a major thorn in the teams' side all season. Having the winning run score on a passed ball simply underscores the clubs' problem of giving many games away due to poor defense.

The series continues tomorrow. It will be interesting to see if there is any player movement after the trade deadline passes. But right now, the Wings playoff chances for 2006 are in great danger for the first time all year. They won't be able to win the division or earn the wild card by playing .500 ball the rest of the way.

Stan Cliburn may not circle this loss with his red pen, but I sure will. I sure hope the powers that be allow Matt Garza (if he is still with us) to pitch a real ball game next time his turn comes up. He surely didn't today.

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