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Grading Matt Garza's Debut Start with the Texas Rangers

Josh SchochAnalyst IIIJuly 25, 2013

Matt Garza did exactly what the Texas Rangers hoped he would do in his debut with the team by shutting down the New York Yankees on Wednesday night.

The Rangers had to give up top prospects like 3B Mike Olt in order to acquire Garza, but Texas is certainly not regretting the decision following his stellar debut.

Garza must have had some jitters going into the night, because he gave up two quick singles to start the game.

Matt Garza is 2 for 2 -- two batters, two singles.

— Jeff Wilson (@JeffWilson_FWST) July 25, 2013

However, he would settle in after striking out Robinson Cano, and would get out of the inning without a problem.

Garza retired the next nine batters he faced after the first two singles. He then gave up a leadoff single in the fourth, but worked around it and got through five innings without giving up a run.

Matt Garza pitches around a leadoff single in the fourth. He has retired 12 of the last 13 as #Rangers lead 1-0.

— Jeff Wilson (@JeffWilson_FWST) July 25, 2013

Rangers fans were taken by Garza from the beginning, and they seemed to adore him after only five innings of work.

So far Matt Garza lookin like what Rangers needed

Yung Pappy (@skevkirby) July 25, 2013

That's when things got interesting.

Garza made an error to start the sixth inning against Brett Gardner, throwing the ball away and allowing the New York outfielder to reach third base because of his speed.

Matt Garza still doesn't know how to throw to first base.

— Chris Kirschner (@ChrisKirschner) July 25, 2013

i could throw a ball better than Matt Garza

— Beth Paul (@DanUgglaInUggs) July 25, 2013

Matt Garza just did his best Carly Rae Jepson impression

— Sean Price (@imaHealthyBoy) July 25, 2013

Garza would go on to finish the night strong, throwing 7.1 innings and allowing only one unearned run. He scattered five hits, striking out five and not walking a single batter.

Garza's Rangers debut was a successful one, but just how successful was it?

Let's take a closer look at his game.

 

Command: A

Garza was dealing on Wednesday night, and that stemmed from his impeccable command.

Garza threw 66 strikes compared to just 29 balls, painting the corners all night.

#MattGarza is great at pitching on the corners with his fastball and breaking ball #baseball #sports #Yankees #Rangers

yankees fan (@nyyankeestweets) July 25, 2013

Garza had all of his pitches working for him, and if he didn't have the throwing error, he would have held the Yankees scoreless.

 

Velocity: A-

Garza was his usual self in terms of velocity, hitting the mid-90s on his pitches.

Garza was hitting 93 and 94 mph without a problem, which is just below his highest velocity of the season, according to FanGraphs.

While he wasn't exactly blowing hitters away, Garza was certainly throwing hard enough that his offspeed pitches were effective, and that's all this guy needs.

 

Fielding: D-

To be fair, Garza wasn't traded so that the Rangers could have a great fielding pitcher on the mound.

After the pitchers throws the ball he becomes a fielder, but it doesn't look like Garza has ever gotten that message, as he's by far one of the worst fielding pitchers in the MLB.

He showed Rangers fans just how bad he can be in the top of the sixth inning. He knocked down a Brett Gardner line drive up the middle, but he rushed the throw and completely missed first base, dribbling the ball into foul territory as Gardner took off and reached third base on the error.

This still wasn't the worst fielding play Garza has ever made, as one of the most memorable moments in his career came with the Chicago Cubs when he airmailed first base.

At least Garza's play on Wednesday wasn't quite as bad as that one was.

 

Overall: A-

Even with Garza's horrible fielding grade, he had a fantastic outing and was all that the Rangers could've asked for.

His command was terrific, his velocity was as good as could be expected and he held the Yankees to just one unearned run in 7.1 innings.

Garza set up the Rangers for the win, and he looked like a stellar addition to lead the Rangers' staff down the stretch along with the recently activated Yu Darvish.

So far so good for Garza, and Texas fans can't wait to see his next outing.

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