Chicago Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija picked up a no-decision in his team’s 5-3 victory over the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night after throwing 101 pitches in five innings of work.
Being the consummate professional, he refused to let a cut on his pitching hand from his previous start prevent him from pitching. That said, his high pitch counts that have contributed to early exits lately are troubling to the pitcher.
“You have to take it start by start,” he said. “The circumstances I was under after my last start, I didn’t throw that much in between outings and it caused me to be a little off. I am not going to use that as an excuse. It is my day to pitch and I need to go out and do what I am supposed to do.”
Making it past six innings in only one of his last five outings is not what is expected of a No. 1 starter. But what is even more maddening for the pitcher is the fact he has been dominant in many of his appearances.
Samardzija struck out 47 batters in April, which is second on the Cubs’ all-time list to teammate Matt Garza’s 51 in 2011. Samardzija has only one win in a month where he at times had been unhittable.
“We are just dealing with that pitch count and we can’t seem to get by that one inning,” manager Dale Sveum said. “We just got to the point where we were one pitch away from him going out and getting maybe two more innings. He just unraveled with the walks. Walks are always going to kill your starts.”
Cut finger aside, Samardzija has walked seven men in 11 innings over his last two starts. Getting back to using the fastball is something the young starter is hoping to establish in his next outing.
“You can’t go out there with the fastball I have and thumb your way through seven innings,” he said. “I was working with what I had today. I had a good fastball today, although the location wasn’t great. Sometimes when you don’t have everything (all pitches ) it turns out to be a positive.”