Results tagged ‘ Jeff Samardzija ’

6/18 Samardzija talks ongoing

There are reports that Jeff Samardzija rejected an $85 million contract offer from the Cubs. However, Samardzija and the Cubs are keeping conversations open, and have not ended discussions.

Scouts have been following Samardzija closely this season, and the Blue Jays had two representatives in Miami Tuesday night for his last start.

How is he dealing with all the trade rumors and contract chatter?

“Numb would be a good word,” Samardzija said Tuesday. “I’m just out doing my job. I feel good. I’m really excited, compared to these last two years of starting, I feel really good where I’m at with my routine and my arm feels great. … I’m going to keep doing my job and I’m not too worried about that stuff — it’ll take care of itself.”

Samardzija has one more year of arbitration left and will be a free agent after the 2015 season. He told his agent he did not want to be distracted by contract talk until something had been finalized.

Samardzija would appear to be the type of pitcher the Cubs want to move forward with in their rotation but Theo Epstein has been intent on rebuilding the farm system, and has traded two starting pitchers each of the last two seasons, including Matt Garza and Scott Feldman last year. Jason Hammel and Jake Arrieta also have reportedly drawn interest from teams looking for starting pitching.

“We have a couple guys on the trading block, but that’s what comes with being quality starters or being able to pitch at the level some of the guys can,” said Arrieta after his start Wednesday in Miami. “I look forward to having Jason and Jeff as teammates as long as possible. Obviously, I’d like them both to stay here. Theo and Jed [Hoyer] will do everything in their power to put the best team on the field, whether it’s keeping those guys or swapping them for prospects who they feel can be here for a long time.

“It’s really not something we need to think about,” Arrieta said. “You have to continue to go day to day and see what happens. I’d love to see those guys stick around.”

– Carrie Muskat

6/17 Extra bases

* During a radio blitz on Tuesday to promote his Foundation To Be Named Later fundraiser in Chicago, Theo Epstein was asked about Jeff Samardzija’s status. The right-hander will be a free agent after the 2015 season.

“The bottom line is nothing has changed,” Epstein said on ESPN-AM 1000. “We think the world of Jeff. He has a year and a half left on his contract. We’d love to find a way to keep him in Chicago for a long time. He’d love to be a Cub for a long time, but it’s a business and things aren’t quite that easy. We’re just not going to get into detail or give a public play by play.”

There were several scouts at Tuesday’s game in Miami, including two from the Blue Jays who have seen nearly every one of Samardzija’s starts.

* Epstein also was asked about Kris Bryant, who is leading the Southern League in home runs, batting average and RBIs. When will Bryant get to Wrigley Field?

“I can say he’s doing everything we could ask of him at Double-A,” Epstein said. “If he continues this and if he continues to work on his development plan and work on his weaknesses, there will be a time in the not too distant future that he’ll see Triple-A this year.

“Is he dominating Double-A right now? Of course he is,” Epstein said. “Does that mean his development is complete? No.”

* Welington Castillo is still rehabbing in Mesa, Ariz., at the Cubs complex. He has right rib cage inflammation, and is eligible to come off the disabled list now. Castillo was scheduled to play in extended Spring Training game Tuesday in Mesa. He may not need a Minor League rehab assignment.

“If he can get some at-bats and be able to swing the bat with intensity and catch, it’s still the same [rehab],” manager Rick Renteria said Tuesday. “From a games perspective, it’s a matter of making sure he’s healthy.”

* Renteria does not plan on batting Travis Wood sixth in the lefty’s next outing but may call on his starting pitcher sooner to pinch-hit. On Monday, Wood delivered a game-winning RBI double in the 13th inning to give the Cubs a 5-4 win over the Marlins.

“I think when you have a short bench, it’s not unheard of to use a pitcher if you want to save the bench,” Renteria said. “You have situations where they may not be as key as that one [Monday]. I think that’s always been open for most clubs.”

– Carrie Muskat

6/17 Cubs lineup

Jeff Samardzija gets the start Tuesday night in the second game of the Cubs’ three-game series against the Marlins. There are plenty of rumors about Samardzija and whether he’ll stay or be dealt by the Trade Deadline. The Cubs are continuing talks with Samardzija’s agent about a possible deal to stay.

Here’s the lineup:

Valbuena 3B
Ruggiano LF
Rizzo 1B
Castro SS
Schierholtz RF
Lake CF
Barney 2B
Whiteside C
Samardzija P

6/17 Cubs tidbits

According to the Cubs:

* The Cubs have played nine extra inning games this season, the most through June 16 since 10 extra-inning affairs at this point in the calendar in 2008.

* Travis Wood delivered the game-winning hit with a RBI double in the 13th inning. Cubs historian Ed Hartig reports Wood is the first Cubs pitcher in nearly 25 years (and the fourth in the expansion era) with a game-winning RBI in extra innings since Les Lancaster delivered a walk-off RBI double on July 20, 1989 vs. San Francisco. The other two are: Fergie Jenkins in 1968 and Lindy McDaniel in 1963.

* The Cubs have won back to back games on the road for the first time since Sept. 9-10 last season in Cincinnati. The Cubs have not won three-straight road games on the same trip since April 25-27, 2013.

* Jeff Samardzija is the only pitcher in baseball to make at least 12 starts this year and have two wins despite an ERA under 3.00. The only other pitcher in baseball with two wins despite a sub-3.00 ERA in at least 10 starts is San Diego’s Andrew Cashner, who has missed time on the DL and has two wins in 11 starts.

* Samardzija is the first National League pitcher to reach the middle of June with two wins despite having made 14 starts with a sub-3.00 ERA. Only one other pitcher did that, and it happened last season when Kansas City’s James Shields had two wins in 14 starts through June 15 despite a 2.79 ERA.

* With a win Tuesday or Wednesday, the Cubs would win consecutive road series for the first time in nearly a year.

* The Cubs’ 3.01 season ERA (71 ER/212 IP) from its bullpen ranks fourth-lowest in the NL this season. That is more than a full run lower than the bullpen’s 4.26 ERA (88 ER/186 IP) through the first 68 games of last season.

6/12 Cubs lineup

Jeff Samardzija starts tonight for the Cubs in the series finale against the Pirates, weather permitting. Rain is in the forecast, but it’s always in the forecast in Pittsburgh. Here’s the lineup:

Bonifacio CF
Lake LF
Rizzo 1B
Castro SS
Valbuena 3B
Schierholtz RF
Baker C
Barney 2B
Samardzija P

* Valbuena is batting .384 (28-for-73) with 10 doubles, two homers, eight RBI and a 1.061 OPS in his last 22 games since May 13. The .384 average is tops in the National League and fourth in the Majors in that span.

6/7 Cubs lineup

Jeff Samardzija gets the start Saturday for the Cubs in Game 2 of their three-game series against the Marlins. Here’s the lineup:

Bonifacio CF
Lake LF
Rizzo 1B
Castro SS
Ruggiano RF
Olt 3B
Barney 2B
Whiteside C
Samardzija P

6/1 Brewers 9, Cubs 0

Kyle Lohse threw a three-hit complete game to lead the Brewers to a 9-0 win over the Cubs Sunday and take the series. Jeff Samardzija had the shortest start of his career, giving up eight runs over three innings. Ryan Braun hit a two-run homer, Scooter Gennett had three hits, including a solo homer, and Lyle Overbay hit a three-run double.

“It was one of those days,” Samardzija said. “They came out aggressive and were hitting the ball. Tip your hat to them, they’re swinging it pretty good. I left some balls up in the zone and they jumped on them.”

Samardzija was coming off his first win of the season, and making his 12th start. It was his worst. He had not given up more than three earned runs in a game this season, and had done that only twice. It was the first time he had been charged with that many runs since the Phillies scored nine in 3 1/3 innings on Aug. 8.

“Whatever he threw over the plate, they were on it,” Cubs catcher Welington Castillo said. “We all know what kind of stuff Samardzija has and how good a game he can pitch. His stuff was there today and they were on it.”

The Brewers were prepared, but didn’t expect this.

“I figured it’d be low scoring on both ends,” Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. “I knew Kyle had a good chance of keeping them down, and I didn’t expect to get a lot of runs off Samardzija.”

Who would? When Samardzija started the game, he had a 1.68 ERA, just percentage points ahead of the Reds’ Johnny Cueto in the Majors. He finished with a 2.54 ERA.

“I’m obviously upset with how it went today,” Samardzija said. “It’s just about going out and understanding that it’s a season of 32 starts and some are good, some are bad, and next time you want to go out and prevent the big number and keep your team in the game.

“That’s the most frustrating part of it is when they’re hitting in the fourth and feel like it’s a big dish they’re in,” he said. “If you have a rough day, you need to keep it to four, five, six runs, something maneagable for the offense.”

Samardzija wasn’t the only one who made an early exit. The Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo was ejected for the first time in his career in the fourth after arguing a called third strike with home-plate umpire Jerry Meals.

“I didn’t agree with the calls, obviously,” Rizzo said. “I said my piece, and definitely understand why I got ejected, and I’ll just move on with it.”

– Carrie Muskat

6/1 Rizzo tossed; Samardzija exits

Jeff Samardzija had the shortest outing of his career Sunday, giving up eight runs on eight hits and two walks over three innings against the Brewers. Samardzija began the day leading the Majors in ERA at 1.68; that increased to 2.55. He wasn’t the only Cubs player to make an early exit. Anthony Rizzo was ejected in the fourth inning after arguing a called third strike with home plate umpire Jerry Meals. It’s the first time Rizzo has been tossed in his career.

– Carrie Muskat

6/1 Cubs lineup – UPDATED

Jeff Samardzija faces Kyle Lohse in the series finale Sunday between the Cubs and Brewers at Miller Park. Samardzija leads the Majors with a 1.68 ERA in 11 starts, mere percentage points ahead of Johnny Cueto’s 1.68 ERA (1.680 vs. 1.681). According to STATS Inc., it’s the lowest ERA for a Cubs starting pitcher on June 1 (minimum 10 starts) since Rick Reuschel posted a 1.60 season ERA entering June of 1973.

UPDATE: Luis Valbuena is sidelined with an abdominal problem, and not in the Cubs’ lineup. Valbuena batted .295 in May. Cubs manager Rick Renteria said the problem isn’t serious, and that Valbuena is sidelined as a precautionary measure.

The Cubs have played 24 games decided by two runs or less this season, going 5-19 in those contests. Those 24 close games represent nearly half of the games they’ve played, as the team is 15-14 in 29 games decided by three runs or more.

Here’s the lineup:

Bonifacio CF
Lake LF
Rizzo 1B
Castro SS
Schierholtz RF
Castillo C
Olt 3B
Barney 2B
Samardzija P

5/26 Cubs 8, Giants 4

Jeff Samardzija got an unexpected but very welcome beer shower after Monday’s win, his first after 16 straight winless starts. The Cubs beat the Giants, 8-4, and Samardzija helped himself, striking out 10, hitting a RBI double, and scoring the go-ahead run. Nate Schierholtz hit his first homer of the season and Darwin Barney drove in two runs.

“It was nice to get him the first win before June,” Barney said. “I think it was on his mind a little more than he put out just by how happy he was today and the fashion that it went down.”

Samardzija entered the game with the lowest ERA through the first 10 starts of a season by any pitcher who didn’t have a win in Major League history. His ERA is now 1.68, which would be second in the Majors to the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright (1.67).

“People try to downplay the record thing but as a starting pitcher, I think it’s important,” said Samardzija, who has handled the lack of wins better than anyone. “I care, I want to keep working hard and come out every day and try to get a win. That’s all you can do.”

The Cubs hadn’t given Samardzija any run support, but that changed Monday. Seven of the nine Chicago starters drove in a run, including the pitcher himself. In the fifth, the Cubs had runners at first and third with one out when Barney hit a sacrifice fly. Samardzija followed with an RBI double to tie the game at 3, and then scored on Emilio Bonifacio’s triple.

“I’ve said before, we count, too, as outs,” Samardzija said of pitchers. “Part of it’s on your shoulders, too. I got a 2-0 pitch I could handle and put a good hit on it.”

“It’s a relief for everybody,” Rick Renteria said. “Today there were big contributions by everybody in the ballgame. [Samardzija] certainly helped himself at the plate and gave us a chance to win a ballgame.”

What was it like for the Giants’ hitters? Hector Sanchez said Samardzija has “gasoline in his arm.”

– Carrie Muskat

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