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Early departure frustrates Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Matt Garza

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — RHP Matt Garza was happy with the ending Sunday, saying "the best thing that came out of today was that we put a W up in our column and we're picking up games on the Red Sox."

But he was frustrated with his contribution, pitching himself out of the game after five innings, primarily because of a career-high-matching five walks, four after he had 0-and-2 counts.

"When you have the stuff that I had today and you just waste it by walking five guys, it's a pain in the (expletive)," he said.

Garza spoke candidly about his determination to start the second half with a string of wins but failed to follow up.

He didn't have good control of his fastball and seemed to teeter a few times on losing the handle on his emotions, though he did limit the damage to three runs.

"We've talked about this, trying to be too fine and not trusting his stuff," manager Joe Maddon said. "He's been pitching away from contact a little bit, and that gets away from his strengths."

ELITE COMPANY: J.P. Howell became the second Ray to save all three games of a series sweep. Troy Percival did it last year against the Blue Jays at Disney. … Maddon raved about the bullpen, which didn't allow an earned run in 102/3 innings. Sunday, RHP Grant Balfour got a double-play ball to end the seventh, LHP Randy Choate a comebacker to end the eighth, and Howell sailed through the ninth.

FEELING GROOVY: LHP Scott Kazmir said his left forearm felt fine and had no concerns — "Not at all" — that he'd have to miss his next start Thursday.

"Everything feels good," Kazmir said. "It just feels a little bit tight just because of being dehydrated, and that's normal. They said it was supposed to be even worse than it feels now, so it feels phenomenal."

Kazmir was forced from Saturday's game when his arm cramped as a result of dehydration. He thinks the problem started when he woke up Saturday "in a pool of sweat" and didn't do anything about it.

"I lost a lot of fluids, and I didn't pound water like I should have," he said.

LEARNING CURVE: Much was made when David Price last pitched July 9 about how he benefited from skipping the pregame scouting report and strategy session and took an approach Maddon said wasn't much beyond, "See catcher, throw ball."

The rookie left-hander said he plans to do the same tonight, noting the challenge of trying to process instruction, information and suggestions from various sources and doing what he thinks he should to win.

"It's tough for me to kind of work on things when they want results right now," Price said.

Maddon said the Rays will keep the instructions basic again: "David will have a very smidgen of the whole thing."

REHAB REPORT: LHP Brian Shouse (left elbow strain) was to make his second rehab appearance and C Shawn Riggans (right shoulder) was supposed to be behind the plate, but Class A Charlotte's game was rained out.

MISCELLANY: The Rays recorded their fifth sweep of the season, first on the road. … DH Pat Burrell struck out four times, one shy of his career high but matching the team record. … Price hasn't pitched against the White Sox, but he has faced rookie INF Gordon Beckham when he was at Georgia and Price at Vanderbilt. How did it go? "He hit everything," Price said. … After tonight's game, the Rays will face three consecutive lefty starters.

Early departure frustrates Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Matt Garza 07/19/09 [Last modified: Monday, July 20, 2009 8:23am]
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