6/27 Extra bases
* Jeff Samardzija is smart enough to know when he doesn’t have good command of his pitches but on Wednesday, the Cubs pitcher couldn’t make the adjustment fast enough. Samardzija gave up nine runs over 4 1/3 innings in the Cubs’ 17-1 loss to the Mets. It was the most lopsided loss since they dropped an 18-1 game to the Brewers on Aug. 2, 2010. Samardzija (5-7) is now 0-4 with a 12.27 ERA in his last four games, and has not won since May 29.
“I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t concern,” Dale Sveum said. “The execution of pitches hasn’t been good for four or five starts now. It could be confidence, it could be mechanical, it could be all of the above. The magic question is, which one is it? There’s a number of things sometimes — is it the concentration level, trusting your stuff? When he gets in trouble, he doesn’t get strike one either. That’s a big thing. Today, we didn’t get strike one too often.”
Samardzija wasn’t pleased, and not just because of his own won-loss record. The Cubs had a chance to sweep the Mets.
“I want to win, especially after winning the first two games and playing how we played as a team,” he said. “We played great baseball and our offense put up the runs we needed to put up and our pitchers did great. I’m not concerned as a whole, I’m just upset as a competitor and a teammate. … Letting them down isn’t what I’m about and it doesn’t sit well with me. As a whole, you have to look at the big picture. There are things you need to learn and there’s only one way to learn sometimes and that’s to get kicked in the rear a little bit.”
* Starlin Castro leads all NL shortstops with 93 hits and a .301 batting average.
* The Cubs are 4-17 against left-handed starters.
* Rizzo watch: Anthony Rizzo was 1-for-4 with a double off Jonathon Niese. He’s now batting .375.
“He had some good swings today and was on every pitch and shortened up and hit a double off the wall,” Sveum said. “He’s doing fine. He hasn’t done anything that we didn’t expect so far. He’s had a quality at-bat every at-bat besides the last one.”
The last at-bat came with a runner on in the eighth. At that point, the Cubs needed more than two touchdowns to win.
– Carrie Muskat