After going 15-10 for the Tampa Bay Rays last season in the toughest division in baseball, expectations are high for Matt Garza. If his performance in Spring Training is any indication, however, those expectations are more than a bit too lofty. Garza, who blamed the dry weather in Arizona for his poor outings, isn’t worried.

He has plenty of excuses left.

“I just couldn’t get a good grip on the ball due to the dry weather here in Arizona,” said Garza, who posted a 10.38 ERA this spring and allowed 25 earned runs. “And all of the heat made me sweat, causing my underwear to ride up too high, making me uncomfortable on the mound. It wasn’t my fault.”

Unfortunately for Garza, he won’t be able to use the hot weather excuse as a reason for his poor performance until July. But Garza is confident he’ll come up with something to deflect criticism in the meantime.

“I play for the Cubs. There’s a whole plethora of excuses to choose from,” said Garza, pulling out a list from his pocket. “Let’s see here. There’s the day baseball, poor player amenities at Wrigley, the slew of bars outside the ballpark, the wind blowing out, Ronnie Woo-Woo’s annoying yelping during games, Todd Ricketts, poor fielding from Alfonso Soriano and Starlin Castro, those guys at the Heckler making fun of me, and who can forget the curse? I think the fans will understand if I don’t pitch as well as I did last year.”

By Michael Kloempken

Michael Kloempken