Maybe that’s been the case lately as his name has been floated as potential trade bait in recent days. That -- along with the notion he doesn’t always get up for less-than-big games -- led to a stellar seven-inning, zero-run performance against the lowly Milwaukee Brewers on Monday. The Cubs eventually lost the game, 5-0, but that didn’t take away from Samardzija’s great night on the mound.
“I was pretty happy with how everything went,” he said after the game. “Kept the walks down, pretty efficient out there. Felt pretty good.”
As for those trade rumors, reported by Fox Sports, Samardzija has a message for the Cubs.
“It wouldn’t be a good move so I haven’t thought about it at all to tell you the truth,” he said. “I like where I am right now. I feel good physically and I feel I’m really improving as a pitcher.”
Samardzija doesn’t care about new contracts or trade rumors or anything except getting better. He had one goal at the start of the season: pitch every five days.
“It means everything to me,” he said. “Going into spring training that was No. 1 on my list to pitch every fifth day ... be a guy on this team every fifth day that his name is in the lineup. ‘He’s pitching and we have a chance to win that game.’”
Samardzija hasn’t always been as consistent as he or the Cubs would like this season. There’s been talk of his tendency to get up for big games but let up against lesser opponents. There was none of that against the Brewers on Monday, or in his previous two starts. He lowered his ERA to a respectable 3.75 and has given up just four earned runs over his last three starts.
“That’s not an issue,” Samardzija said of the importance of the game. “I come to pitch every game. It has a lot to do with mechanics and how you feel every individual day. It’s not always there every day and you have to figure out how to get it done.”
Lake out of slump: Junior Lake made his Wrigley debut coming off a hitless weekend in for San Francisco and he contributed with two hits on Monday night, including another bunt single.
“We’re not going to panic over an 0-for-13,” manager Dale Sveum said before the game. “I have no inklings or thoughts about moving him anywhere. As far as I’m concerned he’s going to be in there every day.”
Lake is hitting .362 after his 2-for-4 night against the Brewers.
Pitching history: According to the Cubs, Saturday, Sunday and Monday marked the first time since August of 1971 three consecutive starters threw at least seven innings and gave up no earned runs.
Chris Rusin threw seven shutout innings on Saturday against the Giants, followed by Travis Wood repeating the effort on Sunday. Then came Samardzija’s seven inning effort against the Brewers on Monday.