Garza knocked out by rib-cage injury
The conspiracy theorists can discuss the circumstances surrounding Matt Garza’s sudden departure all they want, but Sunday’s final result was not a matter for debate.
A crushing, 3-2 loss to the Cardinals sent the Brewers away from Busch Stadium with the slimmest of leads in the National League Central.
Garza exited a one-hitter after 71 pitches and six scoreless innings because of a left rib-cage strain, a troublesome development in itself that was made worse by the fact it was not relayed to the broadcasters covering the game. That opened Brewers manager Ron Roenicke to significant second-guessing as the Cardinals rallied quickly against Garza’s replacements.
Zach Duke retired only one of the three batters he faced and Jeremy Jeffress opened his outing by allowing three straight singles, including Oscar Taveras’ go-ahead hit, as the Cardinals scored three times in the seventh inning to claim the series, two games to one.
“They dodged a bullet today,” Garza said.
The Brewers, meanwhile, absorbed one. Including his outing Sunday, when Matt Adams mustered the only hit off Garza — a fifth-inning double — Garza has allowed only two runs and eight hits in 21 innings over three starts since his nightmarish outing in Washington D.C. coming out of the All-Star break. Against St. Louis, he struck out four batters, hit one, but did not walk any.
Garza said he felt a muscle grab on his left side on his second-to-last pitch.
“It was like, ‘Son of a gun,’” Garza said. “You put a bullpen in that situation where everybody is caught off-guard. Your starter has 70 pitches, nobody assumes he’s coming out.”
But Garza told reporters it was his own decision to come out of the game, even though television cameras saw him with a helmet on his head and a bat in his hand in the top of the seventh inning. Garza was quickly called back and replaced by pinch-hitter Lyle Overbay.
A miscommunication, according to Roenicke.
“He wasn’t going on-deck. He didn’t understand what I was telling him down below,” Roenicke said. “I told him he was done, but he figured he was still going to go up there. I talked to him before that. He said he couldn’t go [pitch]. When you’re talking about obliques, it’s not a question of whether a guy can go out there or not. He can’t go out there.”
Asked whether there was a chance of it being a long-term issue, Roenicke said, “there’s a chance.”
“I’m going to stay positive and say it’s not bad,” Garza said, “but it’s bad enough to where I had to take myself out of the game, and I don’t do that. I had to look at long-term more than short-term. I could have kept going and made it worse, and I could have been out, probably, the rest of the year.”
As it is, he could still miss some time. Garza will be examined in Milwaukee on Monday, an off day for the team, by Dr. William Raasch. Garza suffered a similar injury, but more serious, in his estimation, injury during Spring Training with the Cubs last year and opened on the disabled list.
If the Brewers need a replacement, Marco Estrada would be the likeliest choice. He made 18 starts this season before a move to long relief.
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