Matt Garza took the hill for the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night for the first time since he was dealt by the Chicago Cubs, in a highly anticipated debut in Arlington. The Count was brought into Texas to eat innings, pitch effectively, give the clubhouse a lift and show off that swagger. On Wednesday night, he did all of the above in 7 1/3 innings giving up only one run, which was unearned and striking out five. It was exactly what the Rangers and their fans had hoped for.
Now, we are not going to put Matt in the SDI “Tree of Trust” after one start, but he got our attention. One thing that struck me was not how he performed, but the way in which he performed on the bump. Matt Garza pitches the way old school baseball people and/or broadcasters love. “Workman like.” “Here it is, see what you can do with.” “He just goes right after them.” We all know those descriptors that seem to find their way out of our tv speakers. We all have had a lot of fun in labeling Matt with the swagger tag, or in my case calling him swank. Most of it was tongue-in-cheek and in jest, but after his performance last night, I get it. Normally I would roll my eyes and sigh at the use of such terms, but not in this case.

Swagger is defined as—To walk or conduct oneself with an insolent or arrogant air; strut. 

Obviously we don’t know The Count on a personal level and from all reports he is loved in the clubhouse and described as a fun guy and a nice guy. By the definition, swagger may or may not be the best term, but for now it works for me. On the field when it’s time to pitch, I would say he is arrogant. He does strut. He does “go right after them.”

Matt Garza is going to help the Rangers. At the cost of Olt, Grimm, CJ Edwards plus for a part of the year? That remains to be seen. And after one start it is clearly way too early to begin judging the trade or The Count as a Ranger.  Let’s not forget it was a depleted Yankee line up that he faced on Wednesday night, but it sure was fun to watch him mow them down.

The Rangers now run Darvish, Ogando, Garza, Holland and Martin Perez out there as their 5-man rotation. That’s not bad ladies and gentlemen. Matt Harrison is throwing live batting practice and Colby Lewis is on rehab assignment, so if they can get healthy and be effective, then the Rangers will have a log jam in the rotation. If those guys can’t come back or are ineffective for Texas this year, the current rotation should be able to get the job done.

Matt Garza or Nick Tepesch/Justin Grimm/Ross Wolf/Josh Lindblom? Me too.

Now, if you will excuse me, I’m headed to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. I’m going to try to bottle the sweat of The Count. It will be a combination of cologne and topical enhancer simply known as “Swagger.”

Patrick Despain is the CEO and Co-Founder of ShutDown Inning. He can be reached at Patrick.Despain@ShutDownInning.com or on Twitter @ShutDownInning
Patrick Despain
Patrick is a member of the IBWAA and creator of Shutdown Inning. He was raised him Arlington, Texas and grew up watching games on HSE and listening to Eric Nadel and Mark Holtz on the radio. He is a long time Rangers fan and never achieved his dream of being a bat boy. He know lives in Georgia with dreams of a Texas return.

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