Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Matt Garza gets back to his game, beats Philadelphia Phillies

Matt Garza says going back to throwing his fastball was key to his success.

Associated Press

Matt Garza says going back to throwing his fastball was key to his success.

ST. PETERSBURG — Right-hander Matt Garza might have snapped a six-start winless streak Wednesday against the Phillies.

But it was how he did it that was more encouraging to both him and the Rays.

Garza got back to what he does best, being aggressive and going after hitters with his fastball, something he said he shied away from in his past six outings. As a result, he matched a season high with eight innings, yielding just three hits and one run.

"Tonight was huge," Garza said. "It was a huge personality win, as (pitching coach Jim) Hickey puts it. I got back to who I was, and that's throw my heater and say, 'Hey, beat me with this.' "

Garza (5-5, 3.61 ERA) started sharp, striking out five of the first seven batters. But he got in trouble in the fourth, walking the bases loaded with no outs. It was then that a teaching point from Hickey about being more aggressive resulted in a turning point in the game.

Garza had been relying too much on his breaking ball, and "trying to avoid hits." Garza said Hickey "put it to me gently" in a visit to the mound, telling him to "throw the dang fastball."

It worked. Garza threw a first-pitch fastball to Jayson Werth, who hit a grounder to Evan Lon­goria to start a 5-2-3 double play.

"It was a huge point in the game," catcher Dioner Navarro said.

Garza then struck out Matt Stairs to end the inning.

"Hickey came out and said, 'What are you doing?' And I said, 'I don't know.' " Garza said. "He just tells me to throw your fastball for a strike and you'll be fine. So I threw a first-pitch heater, and it worked. (Werth) got jammed and rolled that ball to Longo. I was like, 'Wow, why didn't I do that from the beginning?' "

Manager Joe Maddon has said he believes Garza, 25, has some of the best stuff in the American League, and he now leads the league in opponent's batting average (.210). And as Garza continues to mature, Maddon said you'll see outings such as Wednesday's on a more consistent basis.

"He was filthy," Navarro said. "He had everything going."

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com.

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Matt Garza gets back to his game, beats Philadelphia Phillies 06/24/09 [Last modified: Thursday, June 25, 2009 7:29am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. U.S. repeats as Solheim Cup champion

    Golf

    WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Lexi Thompson set the tone by rallying from four holes down. The rest of the Americans took it from there and restored their dominance in the Solheim Cup

    Lexi Thompson, left, comes back from four holes down to halve the day’s first singles match with Europe’s Anna Nordqvist to set the tone for the United States.
  2. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  3. Bucs journal: Demar Dotson (mild groin strain) expected back for opener

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The Bucs got good news Sunday on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI exam showed only a mild right groin sprain and who should be back at practice next week.

    Tackle Demar Dotson has only a mild groin strain.
  4. Bucs counting on better health creating better pass rush

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Ask Bucs coaches about the improved depth and health of their defensive line, and they'll look around for a piece of wood to knock on.

    Retired All-Pro defensive end  Simeon Rice, right, the last Buc to have double-digit sacks in a season,  works with defensive end Ryan Russell, who last season was promoted from the practice squad for the second half of the year as injuries piled up. He is competing for a backup job this year.
  5. Rays journal: Jake Faria heads to DL with left abdominal strain

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jacob Faria made the trek he didn't want to take after his last start. It was to the trainer's room. The pain in his left abdominal went from nagging to an issue during his start that night in Toronto.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jacob Faria (34) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 4, 2017.