Published July 24, 2013
| Sports Network
The Texas Rangers may not want to fully judge Matt Garza in his first start with his new club given his career-long struggles against the New York Yankees.
Being thrust into a pennant race may give Garza a little bit of an edge on Wednesday night, when he makes his Rangers debut in the third contest of a four-game series versus the Yankees.
Three games back of Oakland for first place in the AL West, the Rangers on Monday sent a package of players -- third baseman Mike Olt, pitchers C.J. Edwards and Justin Grimm as well as a player to be named later -- to the Chicago Cubs for Garza, who was 6-1 with a 3.17 earned run average in 11 starts this year.
The 29-year-old did miss the final 69 games of last season due to a right elbow injury and had his 2013 campaign delayed due to a strained lat muscle, but looked strong as of late for the Cubs.
Garza won his final five starts in a Chicago uniform and has logged a 1.24 ERA in six outings since a loss on June 11. He extended his personal win streak on July 13 versus St. Louis, scattering two runs, a season-high 10 hits and two walks over 6 2/3 innings.
The right-hander was scheduled to pitch for the Cubs on Monday before getting dealt and should be eager to finally get back on the mound.
"I'm really excited about adding him to what's been the strength of the club -- our pitching staff," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said of Garza, who is 2-3 with a 6.04 ERA in five career starts at Rangers Ballpark.
"He's an extremely talented pitcher that has had success in the toughest of divisions and the biggest stages, who is throwing the ball as well as anybody right now," Daniels said. "It's a power repertoire, a little bit of a different look from what we've got."
Garza has faced the Yankees plenty of times in his career, which began with Minnesota and Tampa Bay before his move to Chicago. However, in 12 career meetings with New York, including 11 starts, he is just 1-4 with a 4.48 ERA.
The Yankees will counter with veteran Andy Pettitte, who was denied a third straight winning start on Friday in Boston. He suffered a 4-2 loss, giving up all four runs on six hits and a walk in 6 1/3 innings.
"It's got to change," said Pettitte of the 3-0 hole he put his club in after two innings. "I can't keep going out there and giving up two, three, four runs in the first inning and second inning. I'm feeling decent, but I have to obviously try to minimize the damage here early in the game."
The 41-year-old lefty has lost four of his past six decisions over his last seven starts, with his ERA lifting from 3.82 to 4.47 over that span. He is 7-7 in 17 starts.
Pettitte lost to the Rangers on June 26 after giving up three earned runs over six innings. He is 11-10 against them in his career, logging a 5.21 ERA in 24 starts.
New York and Texas have split the first two games of this series, with the Yankees rallying to win Tuesday's encounter 5-4.
The Rangers turned to All-Star closer Joe Nathan to hold a one-run lead, but he walked Vernon Wells with one out and then slipped while delivering a pitch to Eduardo Nunez. Wells moved up to second on the wild pitch and then scored the tying run on Nunez's triple.
"The only thing I wish I could take back is that one that I slipped on," said Nathan, referring to the wild pitch. "That was a big pitch in the inning that I think if I make a better pitch I'm able to set something up."
Brent Lillibridge followed with a single to put the Yankees in front and Mariano Rivera sat the Rangers down in order to secure his 32nd save of the season.
"When you come here as the new guy you just want to make the plays and do your job," said Lillibridge. "I just didn't want to make waves until I settled in. Tonight was nice and it made me really happy to be able to contribute that way."
New York had lost five of six prior to the victory, while the Rangers, who got a two-run homer from Mitch Moreland, have lost eight of their last 10 games.
The Rangers took two of three from the Yankees in the Bronx back in June.