Chicago Cubs: Nationals

Garza gaining fans in all the right places

April, 6, 2012
4/06/12
11:17
AM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Spend a little time around Matt Garza and it’s clear that his schedule doesn’t operate the same as most.

[+] EnlargeMatt Garza
AP Photo/Brian KerseyMatt Garza's fun-loving personality gets shelved for intensity on days he pitches.
Four days a week he is the talkative, demonstrative vocal leader of the Chicago Cubs. Then it’s his day to pitch.

Garza will take the mound for the first time Saturday against the Washington Nationals. And while he was every bit the noisy, talkative Garza on Opening Day, he will go to a different place once the sun rises Saturday morning.

“He embraces the competitive aspects of the game and doesn’t try to pretend it’s just another day,” said president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, who was in the same boat this spring as Cubs fans were last year when they were learning the nuances of the big right-hander.

“He needs his music and his time to himself, and he brings a lot to the table. He walks sort of a fine line between in control and out of control, but that works for him emotionally.”

Perhaps the biggest thing Epstein learned about the club’s talented pitcher during 6 weeks in the desert is that there is more than meets the eye with Garza.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jason Hammel
WINS ERA SO IP
2 3.05 16 20
OTHER LEADERS
BAE. Bonifacio .339
HRA. Rizzo 2
RBIA. Rizzo 8
RA. Rizzo 9
OPSA. Rizzo .922
ERAJ. Samardzija 1.29
SOT. Wood 19