ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 24: Starting pitcher Matt Garza #22 of the Texas Rangers is pitches in the first inning against the New York Yankees on July 24, 2013 at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images)
Yu Darvish tried his best on Saturday to be an ace for the Texas Rangers — a guy who can be counted on to stop the bleeding when things aren't going well for his team. He gave a home run to the first batter he faced and then shut the Indians down, along with his bullpen.
Now, Matt Garza gets his chance to do the same thing in his second start with his new team after a stellar debut with the Rangers last Wednesday when he went 7 1/3 innings and gave up just one unearned run in a 3-1 Rangers win — their last win, which has been followed by a four-game losing streak.
Garza can go a long way toward getting the Rangers back on the right track on Monday in a series-opening tilt against the Angels and their ace, Jered Weaver, a pitcher the Rangers have traditionally hit well in Arlington.
Garza is 6-0 in his last seven starts (six with the Cubs) with a 1.06 ERA, 43 strikeouts and just 10 walks, and another outing like Wednesday's would be a welcomed sight for the Rangers' sore eyes. Weaver, who has had his ups and downs this season seems to be hitting on all cylinders now, posting 1.32 ERA in his last six starts, but Weaver has never mixed well with Rangers Ballpark.
In his career, Weaver is 4-8 with a 5.07 ERA in the Rangers' home park, but of course, against this putrid Rangers offense, that might not matter. The Rangers put five runs on Weaver in five innings on April 7, after which he spent nearly two months on the disabled list. But that was a different Rangers offense, and this is a different Weaver.
Monday's series opener will pit two hot pitchers against each other, as well as two struggling offenses. Only one offense will prevail, and Garza hopes it's his, as the Rangers need to stop the bleeding before things get out of hand.