When the Texas Rangers acquired Matt Garza from the Chicago Cubs a couple of weeks before the July 31 trade deadline, he wasn't expected to be a savior. In other words, he was never expected to be 2010 Cliff Lee.
What he was expected to do was lend a competitive edge and give the Rangers some much-needed swagger.
After his first start as a Ranger, when he dominated the New York Yankees, things started trending downhill for Garza, who came to Texas riding a massive hot streak with the Cubs.
After a Rangers-worse start for Garza on Wednesday afternoon that saw him last only four innings and give up three runs thanks to a lack of control that led to four walks, Garza's ERA as a Ranger climbed to 4.46 and he fell to 3-4 in a Texas uniform.
Now, Garza admits, the pressure is starting to get to him after the Rangers gave up some really nice prospects to get Garza as a rental player to fortify their pitching staff down the stretch.
"It's real frustrating," Garza told ESPNDallas.com after Wednesday's start. "That's part of my problem. I may be putting too much pressure on myself, maybe. I don't know. I don't think so."
Even when Garza has given up runs, he's kept the Rangers in games as a basic automatic to work at least seven innings. But on Wednesday, he was chased early and just never really was able to settle in.
"When he did decide to throw a pitch in the strike zone, they put it in play and found a hole," Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
Don't be confused, Garza can most definitely still help the Rangers, but he needs to find his groove again — the one he had in his last 9-10 starts with the Cubs and the one he was still in when he made his first start as a Ranger against the Yankees in Arlington.
"This guy is a good pitcher," Washington said. "Things haven’t been going the way we would’ve liked for them to go, totally, but the bottom line is when the pitcher takes the mound it’s his job is to keep you in the ballgame. Although he hasn’t been winning ballgames at a rate you think he will, he’s still been keeping us in ballgames."