Thursday, May 23, 2013

2013 Topps Matt Garza Factory Team Set

Now that Matt Garza is off the disabled list, I had hoped to welcome him back with a win. He pitched well enough in his rehab starts, making two starts apiece at Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa with a combined 1.17 ERA and the big league club was on a roll too. The stars were not aligned on Tuesday though. Despite handing the bullpen a 3-0 lead after only giving up one hit and three walk in five scoreless innings of work, the Cubs ultimately fell 5-4 in his return.
Garza was trade bait last season until he landed on the disabled list right before the trade deadline so it's not wonder Topps didn't include Garza in Series 1. His factory team set card shows him in a throwback uniform from the game against the San Francisco Giants on June 2, 2012. This made the original pretty easy to find when sifting through photos from last year.  They could have done a little bit better job on the cropping, even if it meant zooming out a little bit, to get his left elbow in the frame.

Photo by Brad Mangin (courtesy of Getty Images)

While I usually see the appeal in throwback jerseys, I can't say I find this one particularly attractive. Unlike some of the other teams from around the league, I just don't feel nostalgia for this design. Maybe because it preceeds me by a good 65+ years. According to the picture below, these uniforms are from around 1911. Why not go back a couple more years to 1908 when they last won the World Series and maybe try those? Just a thought...
More from my time though, I wouldn't mind seeing the powder blue "pajama" uniforms of the late '70s/early '80s (not shown above). Or even those 1984 pullovers.
Like Tuesday, the Cubs lost the game last year by a run, falling 2-1. See, might as well try a different uniform. Garza pitched 6 innings, gave up both runs, but the Cubs coldn't muster any more runs than a David DeJesus solo home run. On a Tony Campana note that's probably only interesting to me, he was 2-4 in the game with two stolen bases. But when he led off the top of the fourth with a bunt single, he unfortunately was thrown out stealing just before DeJesus's home run. Doh! His second hit of the game and subsequent steals of second and third failed to yield a run.

Garza's Career Chase stat is Nolan Ryan's strikeout record. No danger of that record falling here although he did break into the top 10 in his league in strikeouts in 2009 with the Rays and 2011 with the Cubs.
With Garza's return to the rotation, Carlos Villanueva got bumped to the bullpen. Rumor has it that he also shaved that sweet villainous mustache too. Double whammy.

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