A day after the Chicago Cubs traded one starting pitcher, the man who may be the next trade chip dealt will get the ball looking to continue his dominant stretch.
In what could be a pitchers' duel Wednesday night in Oakland, Garza goes up against Colon, who seeks to extend the longest winning streak of his career.
Colon (11-2, 2.79 ERA) is not only undefeated over his last nine starts, he's recorded a win in each of the last eight with a 1.37 ERA while allowing one home run over 59 innings.
The 40-year-old gave up one run and six hits in eight innings in a 6-1 win over St. Louis on Saturday. He won eight straight decisions for the Angels from July 21-Sept. 10, 2005, the same season he won the Cy Young Award and a league-best 21 games.
"He's been dominant," teammate Josh Donaldson told the club's official website. "It hasn't even been a question."
Donaldson stayed hot in Tuesday's 8-7 series-opening win, going 2 for 4 with a homer and starting the Athletics' three-run eighth with a leadoff single. He's 12 for 26 with four homers and 10 RBIs over his last eight games, posting an OPS of 1.548 for Oakland (49-35), which has won five of six.
The Cubs (35-46) made two trades Tuesday, sending starter Scott Feldman to Baltimore while also shipping Carlos Marmol to the Los Angeles Dodgers . Feldman had been strong in his only season with Chicago, going 7-6 with a 3.46 ERA.
The move by the rebuilding Cubs clearly seemed aim at cutting payroll while still trying to maximize return. They received veteran reliever Matt Guerrier from the Dodgers, and pitchers Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop and two international signing bonus slots from the Orioles.
With the run Garza (3-1, 3.83) has been on of late, he may be the best available arm on the trade market as the July 31 deadline approaches - something he's well-aware of.
"Somebody asked me, 'Well, do you sit by your phone?'" the 29-year old right-hander said. "I said, 'No.' No phone calls. No worries, guys. I'm not too worried about it, just going to keep plugging away every five days."
For prospective suitors, his stock only seems to be rising after he spent almost two months on the disabled list with a strained lat to start the season. He's 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA over his last three starts.
He struck out a season-high 10 while throwing seven innings of one-run ball in a 7-2 win at Milwaukee on Thursday.
"I like where I'm at, and I'm just going to try to keep improving," said Garza, who can become a free agent at the end of the year.
Although Chicago got rid of the much-maligned Marmol, the relief woes didn't end Tuesday. James Russell was tagged with the blown save as he surrendering the go-ahead three-run homer to Derek Norris with two outs in the eighth.
Coco Crisp , Jed Lowrie and Seth Smith are a combined 4 for 35 off Garza with nine strikeouts. He's 1-3 with a 3.09 ERA in five career games - four starts - against the A's, but hasn't seen them since 2010.
Colon is 0-1 with a 5.33 ERA in four career starts against the Cubs, whom he hasn't pitched against since 2004. He has a 1.20 ERA in winning his two starts against NL clubs this season, and is 5-1 with a 2.73 ERA in his last six versus the Senior Circuit.
|June 30, 2013||Ryan Sweeney||60-Day DL||Fractured left rib|
|June 15, 2013||David DeJesus||15-Day DL||Right shoulder sprain|
|June 14, 2013||David DeJesus||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained right shoulder|
|June 12, 2013||Zach Putnam||60-Day DL||Right elbow soreness|
|June 11, 2013||Zach Putnam||Day-to-Day||Left game - Undisclosed injury|
|May 27, 2013||Kyuji Fujikawa||60-Day DL||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|June 29, 2013||Jarrod Parker||Day-to-Day||Left game - right hamstring cramp|
|June 20, 2013||Derek Norris||Day-to-Day||Left game - groin injury|
|June 11, 2013||Yoenis Cespedes||Day-to-Day||Left game - left hamstring tightness|
|May 07, 2013||Josh Reddick||15-Day DL||Sprained right wrist|
|May 07, 2013||Josh Reddick||15-Day DL||Sprained right wrist|
|May 06, 2013||Jarrod Parker||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained neck|
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Matt Garza plans to pitch as well as he can for the Chicago Cubs as long as he's with the team. That's how he's dealing with all this trade talk.
Garza pitched eight sharp innings for his third consecutive win, leading the Cubs to a 3-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night.
"For the past six or seven years my name always comes up," he said. "Until my phone rings, I'm going to be a Cub. I'm just worried about the next five days."
Garza (4-1) allowed one run and four hits, struck out five and walked three in his fourth consecutive quality start. The right-hander is 3-0 with a sparkling 0.90 ERA since yielding a season-high nine runs to the Cincinnati Reds on June 11.
"That's as good as I've seen him in two years," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "That's with seven lefties in the lineup. His command of the fastball down and away, he didn't need to throw many breaking balls. He had extra velocity when he needed it and threw first pitch strikes."
With the Cubs well off the pace in the NL Central, Garza could be one of the top targets for contenders looking for pitching help ahead of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
"Sure I love pitching in October," Garza said. "I'd love to be pitching with this team in October. We're scratching and clawing our way back into the toughest division."
Luis Valbuena homered for Chicago, which has won five of seven. Alfonso Soriano and Brian Bogusevic each drove in a run, and Kevin Gregg pitched the ninth for his 14th save in 15 chances.
Brandon Moss went deep for the Athletics, who had won five of six. Bartolo Colon (11-3) gave up two runs and nine hits in seven innings in his first loss since May 9.
"It was a good matchup with two pitchers you expect to go deep into games," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We had a tough time figuring out Garza."
A's catcher John Jaso , one of the many left-handed batters, said he had trouble with Garza's fastball.
"He moved it around on me the whole night," Jaso said. "When he struck me out it was on a curve that just dropped in. I hadn't seen it all night and it was perfect timing."
Colon (11-3) was 8-0 with a 1.66 ERA in his previous nine starts. He won the AL pitcher of the month award earlier in the day after going 5-0 with a 1.75 ERA in June.
"He made a good pitch to Soriano, who stayed on it and got the bloop single and then the home run," Melvin said. "Other than that he pitched like we've seen him all year."
Colon's first wild pitch in over four years helped the Cubs score in the first. Starlin Castro singled with one out, advanced to second on the wild pitch and scored on Soriano's single.
Colon's last wild pitch was on May 26, 2009, a span of 1,499 days and 443 innings.
Valbuena's seventh homer of the season gave the Cubs a 2-0 edge in the third. It was his first home run in just over a month.
Moss connected for his 15th homer in the fourth, but Dioner Navarro and Bogusevic hit back-to-back doubles to make it 3-1 in the eighth.
NOTES: The Cubs designated RHP Shawn Camp for assignment and optioned LHP Chris Rusin to Triple-A Iowa, making room for RHP Matt Guerrier , acquired in a trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers , and RHP Pedro Strop , part of the deal that sent RHP Scott Feldman to the Baltimore Orioles . Sveum called designating Camp "not my finest day as a manager." ... Colon is the A's first pitcher of the month since Dan Haren in May 2007. ... Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville will throw out a ceremonial first pitch at Wrigley Field on Saturday. ... A's RHP Jarrod Parker (hamstring) had his start pushed back to Saturday. RHP Dan Straily (4-2, 5.00 ERA) will be recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to make Thursday's start. ... LHP Travis Wood (5-6, 2.85 ERA) starts for the Cubs. He's 0-3 in his last five starts. ... The A's drew a sellout crowd of 35,067 on fireworks night despite an ongoing BART strike. ... Soriano has 37 RBIs in his last 50 games.