There has been a lot of talk about the Milwaukee Brewers starting rotation this winter. Since trading Yovani Gallardo many have wondered if Kyle Lohse can be an ace and if Wily Peralta has the talent to take his game to an even higher level. At the bottom of the rotation, there is hope for Mike Fiers to repeat his success and for Jimmy Nelson to breakout.
But with all of the conversation centered around the other starters, almost nothing has been said all winter about Matt Garza. As the big piece of the 2014 offseason, Garza has the talent to be as good as anyone on the staff. If he can stay healthy, he will be the X-factor in the Brewers’ rotation in 2015.
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Last season, things didn’t go so well for Garza as the year began. After a great first start in which he allowed only two hits and one run in eight innings against the Braves, Garza was hit hard throughout the rest of the month of April. He finished the month with a 5.00 ERA, allowing 20 runs in 36 innings of work.
May wasn’t much better. With two months completed, Garza entered June with an ERA of 4.94 and whispers began to swirl around that he was not worth the highest pitching salary in team history.
But then came the summer and Garza excelled. He finished June and July going 5-3 and his numbers were much better all-around. Were it not for a tough luck start against the Washington Nationals where he allowed five runs in 0.1 innings of work and barely saw a ball leave the infield his numbers would have been even better.
He finished the year with an 8-8 record, a strong 3.64 ERA and a 1.182 WHIP. Pitching in a hitter friendly park, he was still able to have one of the best home run per nine inning rates of his entire career (averaging just 0.7 home runs for ever nine inning of work). Though he did miss some time with injury, he was still able to make 27 starts and fully live up to his contract, especially considering the inflation of pitching contracts this winter.
Moving forward to 2015, the 31-year-old Garza again be one of the steadiest presences in the rotation. He is slated to make his first start of the spring this Friday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Though he is not getting nearly as much credit as every other starter on the roster, he has continually proven to be on of the most reliable arms in the league. His veteran presence will have a gigantic impact on the Brewers postseason push all year long.