Garza's fastball will hold the key to his post-no-hitter development
Garza leapt off the mound Monday carrying a piece of history, having re-established himself as a key contributor to the second-best team in baseball. Overwhelming the Tigers in the simplest way possible, Garza threw the first no-hitter in Rays history and the fifth in four months of the 2010 season. Along the way, Garza reduced pitching to four words:
On a typical night, Garza will throw his fastball on about seven of every 10 pitches, mixing in a slider, curve and change-up on the rest of his deliveries. It made him frustrating to watch at times, as his fastball -- which was 91-93 according to MLB.com and, according to Fangraphs, averages more than 93 mph on the season -- is more than good enough to beat major-league hitters. Last night, Garza threw 120 pitches, and a whopping 101 were fastballs. His first 14 pitches were all fastballs, and in four of his nine innings, he threw no more than one pitch other than the heater. He threw away his change-up and mixed in nine sliders and 10 curves, nearly half of the breaking pitches coming in the last two innings.
It was an overpowering performance, so much so that there was no
You cannot tell the story of this game without acknowledging that the Tigers limped into the Tropicana Dome at the nadir of their season. Having gotten zeroes from shortstop and catcher all year, a brutal week of injuries has them down three starters in
Last night's start is over. What's important now is whether Garza can apply the lessons learned to take a step forward in his development. He started 23 of 27 hitters with a fastball, and while he was 1-0 more often than not, using the fastball, his best pitch, set the tone for his night. He may not be able to get away with junking his breaking stuff completely against better lineups, but the lesson here isn't that he has to throw all fastballs -- he just has to throw