Cubs play it smart to beat Matt Garza

May, 17, 2014
May 17
5:31
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs were slow to admit it, but it was obvious what they were trying to do against former Cub pitcher Matt Garza in their 3-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday afternoon.

[+] EnlargeChris Coghlan
Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY SportsChris Coghlan and the Cubs tried to use the bunt to take advantage of Matt Garza's limitations fielding his position.
When you know a pitcher so intimately – and the fact that he has 18 career errors – laying down a bunt or two isn’t a bad idea. Emilio Bonifacio started the game with a perfectly-placed one which Garza had to eat. When Chris Coghlan followed with two attempts, the strategy became obvious.

“I don’t want to get into that,” manager Rick Renteria said after the game.

But then he did in the very next sentence.

“We tried to get on base by putting the ball in his (Garza’s) general area,” Renteria admitted.

Coghlan’s first attempt was going for a hit, but after foul-tipping the ball, he laid one down to get Bonifacio over for a sacrifice. Coghlan was asked if the hope was for Garza to throw the ball into center field trying to get Bonifacio at second.

“That was what the plan, that what was what skip (Renteria) wanted," Coghlan said. "It worked out where Bonifacio got a hit, (I) moved him over and Castro got the double.”

The Cubs scored three runs that inning and they were the only runs either team scored, so the bunts played a part – even if Garza fielded them just fine.

“I just tried to put a good bunt, and it was perfect,” Bonifacio said.

The Cubs didn’t force Garza to field his position when they faced him last month in Milwaukee and the Brewers won the game. The smart strategy paid off on Saturday, even if it wasn’t Garza’s fault.

Jesse Rogers | email

Chicago Cubs beat reporter
Jesse joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and covers the Chicago Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Starlin Castro
BA HR RBI R
.284 13 64 53
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Rizzo 29
RBIA. Rizzo 69
RA. Rizzo 80
OPSA. Rizzo .888
WJ. Hammel 8
ERAT. Wood 4.91
SOT. Wood 126