Earlier this season, Matt Garza threw 71 pitches in just 1.1 innings as he got blasted by the Marlins. His last time out, he gave up back to back to back home runs to the team with the worst record in baseball in addition to ten hits and seven runs as the Rays lost to the Orioles in extra innings. Two appearances ago, he came out of the bullpen to earn a very rocky save against the Boston Red Sox. Last season, he threw a one hitter against the Marlins that was spoiled by a long home run by Hanley Ramirez that may or may not have landed yet. Lastly, in his five previous appearances against the Tigers, Garza had lost all five starts. None of that matters now because that same guy just threw the first no-hitter in franchise history by facing the minimum 27 batters walking just one guy who was erased on a double play.
Many times this season, Garza has been guilty of letting his emotions get the better of him and has not been able to stay within himself and maximize his talent. Tonight, we saw what Matt Garza can be when everything goes right. He threw 120 pitches on the night, 80 of them for strikes. 105 of his 120 pitches were fastballs or sliders and he had thirteen swings and misses on those pitches. He had two innings all night where his strike% was below 60% but never had an inning where he threw more than seventeen pitches. Until tonight, David Price’s four-hit shutout of Toronto earlier this season was the most dominant game I have seen from the staff this year but that start now takes a distant second to this masterpiece.
Yesterday, Dallas Braden won his first game since perfecting the Rays on Mothers Day; here is to hoping Garza does not go through the same kind of dry spell. This start from Garza is obviously extremely encouraging after watching the Rays pitchers struggle through a lot of the nine game road trip to start off this second half and the bar has most certainly been raised for the rest of the staff in the rest of this critical homestand. If you want to enjoy a look back in the club’s history to appreciate this moment, understand that Delmon Young, Brendan Harris, Jason Pridie, Mitch Talbot, Edwin Jackson, and Aubrey Huff brought this club the key pieces that delivered tonight’s magic. Just over 17,000 were in attendance tonight but 170,000 will say they were there tonight. Given the fact the club is averaging nearly 100,000 households tuning in from home each night this season, at least 170,000 were on the edge of a seat, bench, couch, or recliner tonight in households all across Florida and thanks to ESPN, the country, as the Rays finally found themselves on the right side of a no-hitter.