“It’s just [about] going right after those guys. Make them uncomfortable. Make them think about what they’re doing, what they’re going to swing at. Right now, they’re real comfortable. They’re just up there swinging and hitting the cover off the ball. So I’ve got to go in there and make them uncomfortable, make them do what I want them to do. It’s a hard job, definitely a hard job, but somebody has got to do it. And I feel I’m the right man for the job right now.”
So said Matt Garza.
On October 7, 2010, minutes after Texas had won the first two games of its best-of-five against Tampa Bay in its first ALDS in 11 years, with the series about to head to Arlington.
The Rays won Game Three, a Garza-Colby Lewis pitchers' battle in which Garza had allowed nothing but an unearned run through six innings. He surrendered an Ian Kinsler home run to start the seventh and exited the game. Tampa Bay went on to score five unanswered runs and won, 6-3.
"I'm excited. I couldn't be more happy being in a place where I'm at, a place where I'm wanted, been wanted. It's awesome. I felt good. I just wanted to throw strikes."
So said Garza.
Right after the very next game he would pitch in Rangers Ballpark.
Which was last night.
Texas 3, New York 1, a game in which Garza allowed nothing but an unearned run through seven and a third.
Garza, who missed Tanner Scheppers by a year at Fresno State and who ensured that Scheppers — and Robbie Ross and Joakim Soria — wouldn't be needed last night, helping the Rangers not only take a 2-1 series lead over New York but also go into this afternoon's series finale at nearly full strength.
"We're in a playoff hunt, aren't we? We're trying to make it to October. So every game's a big game. I don't care who's on the other side. Every game counts. . . . I just want to get us to October. That's it."
Matt Garza. Arlington. October.