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Closing Time: The curious case of Matt Garza

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The Texas two-step (USAT)

The Texas Rangers have misfired in recent years with their midseason pitching additions. Is the Matt Garza story going to be different?

For one night at least, Garza's move to Texas was a smash. The relocated righty worked 7.1 terrific innings against the Yankees on Wednesday (5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K), leaving to a standing ovation. Garza threw 66 of 95 pitches in the zone and collected 13 ground-ball outs along the way. Here's your scouting tape, have a look.

The top three batters in New York's order collected five hits, but the rest of the lineup let the Bombers down (zero hits against Garza). That's life when you have a middle third of Lyle Overbay, Vernon Wells and Eduardo Nunez. The Yankees are 12th in the AL in scoring; they call them Murmurer's Row for a reason.

Garza isn't new to American League life, of course - he opened his career in Minnesota and later spent three seasons in Tampa Bay. Let's recall he was good, not great, as a member of the Rays - collecting a 3.86 ERA and 1.25 WHIP over three seasons. He never posted an ERA under 3.69 or a WHIP below 1.24 in his previous AL campaigns, for what it's worth. Garza has a spot on our roto rosters but it's as a support guy - this isn't ace material.

One factor in Garza's favor is his work against left-handed batters - he's never had a problem keeping the platoon disadvantage in check. Righties actually have a better career slash (.254/.311/.399) against Garza than lefties do (.241/.313/.379). That's a critical area for Garza, considering how lefties tee off in the Arlington jetstream. Maybe he can survive in the park that dumped on Ryan Dempster and beat up Roy Oswalt.

The tests are more imposing next week, when Garza deals with the Angels (in Arlington) and Athletics (on the road). The Brewers and Astros (twice) come after that, with two starts at home. If Garza's first month in a Rangers uniform is going to be successful, it's going to happen mostly in the oppressive Texas summertime heat.

What's your Garza game plan going forward? Are you eager to sell this recent turn and Garza's overall stat package (2.87/1.098)? Or does this look like a growth season to you, a player putting it all together at age 29? Share your clipboard in the comments.

Tim Hudson's sterling turn at Citi Field had a tragic ending - he busted his right ankle during a bang-bang play at first base in the eighth inning. He's headed for season-ending surgery. You feel for Hudson and also for Mets outfielder Eric Young Jr., who was obviously shaken up by the accidental collision. I'm not going to post a link to the play - if you're the ghoulish type who likes to consume such stuff, you know where to find it.

The Braves are better prepared for this sort of injury than most teams, given their ridiculous pitching depth. Kris Medlen and Julio Teheran will obviously stick in the rotation, and there's a waiting spot for Brandon Beachy as soon as he's ready to go. Intriguing lefty Alex Wood is also in the mix - he's someone to watch closely during Thursday's New York start. He's posted a 2.45 ERA and 26 strikeouts (against eight walks) over his 22 innings with Atlanta, working mostly in relief, and his numbers were terrific in the minors.

Say this for the plucky Cubs, they're playing solid baseball right now (20-16 over the last month and a half). And there's roto value here if you look deep enough; sometimes this looks like a roster overflowing with Wiggy candidates.

Nate Schierholtz (homer, five RBIs) was the hero in Wednesday's marathon victory at Arizona; his 12th-inning hit was needed after scuffling Kevin Gregg blew another save. The handy Schierholtz is owned in just 14 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Junior Lake collected two more hits and is off to a 14-for-27 start since reaching the Show (two homers, one bag in three attempts); he's carrying two positions of eligibility (3B/OF) for anyone ready to kick some tires. David DeJesus came off the DL and chipped in two hits and two runs. Heck, even the maddening Starlin Castro is producing this month (.313/.368/.475). Have some fun with this team, Chicago fans. Things will get better in a year or two.

Speed Round: Colorado temp Rex Brothers picked up his second save of the week, working around a walk in the ninth against Miami. Even if Rafael Betancourt makes a speedy recovery from his appendicitis, Brothers is worth holding onto in most mixers. And there's a chance the Rockies could dangle Betancourt to contending clubs, both for this week and through the waiver trade period next month . . . Bud Norris finally showed something to the scouts following the Astros, collecting seven strikeouts over a quality start (6.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 BB). Houston is reportedly talking to several teams about a possible Norris deal . . . Omar Infante (ankle) has started a rehab assignment, while Miguel Cabrera (hip) remains day-to-day. The Tigers won't use Cabrera in the series finale at Chicago . . . Bryce Harper (knee) and Ian Desmond (hand) are back in the Washington lineup Thursday . . . Under-appreciated Matt Adams had two hits (single, double) and three RBIs as the Cardinals rolled past Philadelphia . . . Alfonso Soriano is willing to waive his no-trade clause if the Yankees and Cubs work out a deal . . . Brandon Morrow (forearm) is done for the year, no surprise given his recent visit with noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews . . . Although Felix Doubront took the loss Wednesday against Tampa Bay, he nonetheless allowed three runs or less for the 13th consecutive start. He's posted a 2.71 ERA over that span, with 68 strikeouts over 79.2 innings. The Mariners come to Fenway Park next week . . . According to beat writer supreme Jim Salisbury, the Phillies might be looking into a contract extension for 34-year-old veteran Chase Utley. It's an odd path when you consider the age and context of the current roster, but Ruben Amaro Jr. has thrown curveballs before.

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