CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs were slow to admit it, but it was obvious what they were trying to do against former Cub pitcher Matt Garza in their 3-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday afternoon.
When you know a pitcher so intimately – and the fact that he has 18 career errors – laying down a bunt or two isn’t a bad idea. Emilio Bonifacio started the game with a perfectly-placed one which Garza had to eat. When Chris Coghlan followed with two attempts, the strategy became obvious.
“I don’t want to get into that,” manager Rick Renteria said after the game.
But then he did in the very next sentence.
“We tried to get on base by putting the ball in his (Garza’s) general area,” Renteria admitted.
Coghlan’s first attempt was going for a hit, but after foul-tipping the ball, he laid one down to get Bonifacio over for a sacrifice. Coghlan was asked if the hope was for Garza to throw the ball into center field trying to get Bonifacio at second.
“That was what the plan, that what was what skip (Renteria) wanted," Coghlan said. "It worked out where Bonifacio got a hit, (I) moved him over and Castro got the double.”
The Cubs scored three runs that inning and they were the only runs either team scored, so the bunts played a part – even if Garza fielded them just fine.
“I just tried to put a good bunt, and it was perfect,” Bonifacio said.
The Cubs didn’t force Garza to field his position when they faced him last month in Milwaukee and the Brewers won the game. The smart strategy paid off on Saturday, even if it wasn’t Garza’s fault.