Matt Garza should be pretty well-rested when he takes the mound Thursday night.
That's because the Milwaukee Brewers right-hander followed some time off for the All-Star break with the shortest start of his career, leaving him with fewer than 50 pitches thrown in the last two weeks as he gets ready to face the visiting New York Mets in the opener of a four-game series.Garza (6-7, 4.04 ERA) allowed two runs and three hits over 7 2/3 innings in his final outing before the break, a 9-1 home loss to Philadelphia on July 10. He had eight days off before starting in Washington on Saturday, and the rest didn't help.Garza gave up five runs and five hits while walking two and recording just one out while throwing 42 pitches."He had one out. So we were going to get up to 50 pitches and none of us are comfortable with him going 50," manager Ron Roenicke said.Roenicke, though, wasn't at all worried about the performance."He didn't throw the ball that bad," Roenicke said. "It's a shame you make good pitches and they did a good job fouling them off, and they did a good job reaching out and putting balls in play."Garza, who went 4-2 with a 2.35 ERA in his previous six starts, also said he wasn't concerned."Call it what you want, man, just wasn't a good day," Garza told MLB's official website. "I felt fine. Nothing felt off. Just, what are you going to do?"The Brewers (57-45) considered bringing Garza back earlier, but he said he didn't want to mess up anyone else's routine."We have confident guys. We have great guys. ... It's not a big rush," Garza said. "Just get ready for the next fifth day."The decision has paid off for NL Central-leading Milwaukee, which is coming off a three-game sweep of Cincinnati highlighted by a 2.29 ERA from its starters. Kyle Lohse pitched 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball and Mark Reynolds homered twice in Wednesday's 5-1 victory.The Brewers have won five of seven following a 1-11 stretch."We've been scuffling, obviously, since before the break and (it helps) to get a couple of wins in a row and kind of get that feeling back in here that we expect to win every game," Reynolds said.The Brewers will next face Dillon Gee, who also lost his first start after the break. Gee (4-2, 2.92) allowed four runs and five hits -- two homers -- in five innings of a 6-0 defeat at San Diego on Saturday."I definitely want to try to get deeper into games," said the right-hander, who had a 1.35 ERA in his previous six starts. "There's really no excuse for it."The Mets (48-53) enter this series after Bartolo Colon was perfect through 6 2/3 innings of a 3-2 win over Seattle on Wednesday. They took two of three against the Mariners and have split the first six contests of a 10-game trip.Gee has lost all three starts against Milwaukee behind a 6.75 ERA, while Garza hasn't received a decision in two outings versus the Mets despite posting a 1.93 ERA.Neither pitched when the Brewers took two of three in New York from June 10-12.
Ryan Braun has the league's second-highest slugging percentage this season in at-bats to end on a pitch on the outer third of the plate or away (.556). Dillon Gee has thrown 55.6 percent of his pitches in that zone this season, 16th most among the 147 pitchers with at least 10 starts.