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Jeff Samardzija nearly goes distance in Cubs win

Apr 8, 2012, 4:49 PM EDT

Jeff Samardzija Getty Images

Jeff Samardzija was hitting 97 mph on the gun in the ninth inning Sunday and nearly went the distance in a 4-3 victory over the Nationals.

Samardzija appeared to have the third out in the ninth in a 4-1 game, but Starlin Castro committed a throwing error on Ryan Zimmerman‘s grounder to short. Manager Dale Sveum stuck with him after a visit to the mound, but Adam LaRoche followed with a two-run homer, necessatating a Carlos Marmol appearance after all.

Marmol walked Jayson Werth, putting the tying run on base, before getting Xavier Nady to pop out foul to end it.

It was the first save for Marmol, who took a loss and a blown save in the Cubs’ first two games of the season.

Samardzija, though, was the story. Making his first major league start since 2010, he struck out eight and walked none. He entered the ninth at just 90 pitches, giving Sveum the luxury of sending him back out. He ended up throwing 110 pitches in the contest. LaRoche’s homer was just the fourth hit he allowed.

The Cubs haven’t shown much offense yet and the bullpen was a disaster for two games, but the rotation is shaping up as pretty good or maybe even better if Samardzija proves to be for real.

  1. diehardcubbiefan4life - Apr 8, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    Something to think about the end of the game. The game would’ve been over if Castro doesn’t make that error, because it was clear that Jeff was emptying the tank on Zimmerman. Hope Jeff learns something from that and doesn’t try to gas what he thinks is the last batter. If he doesn’t I don’t think he sends LaRoche a flat fastball either. I did want to see Shark finish the game, but I wouldn’t have blamed Dale if he pulled him. We got the win either way though 😀

    • baseballisboring - Apr 8, 2012 at 5:43 PM

      I’m just amazed he pitched 8 and 2/3 innings with NO walks. Not a Cubs fan, but I sort of root for them, because I’m a Red Sox fan who still loves Theo Epstein. I’d love to see this guy turn into something, as recently as six or 7 months ago he looked like almost a complete bust.

      • istillbelieveinblue - Apr 9, 2012 at 8:20 AM

        Shark only made the team out of Spring Training last year because he was out of options. He certainly made the most of that opportunity out of the bull pen, then earned a spot in the rotation this year with a great spring. Hopefully the light bulb has truly gone on and he’ll keep this up!

  2. shawon0meter - Apr 8, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    1 win down, 59 to go

    just kidding..i hope

  3. jwbiii - Apr 8, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    So at what point does BPJ become SRJ?

  4. missouricharger - Apr 8, 2012 at 11:32 PM

    he would’ve been an excellent pro wide out….I would have loved to keep watching him in the NFL.

    • istillbelieveinblue - Apr 9, 2012 at 8:23 AM

      He probably doesn’t get drafted high enough in the NFL draft to get much guaranteed money, definitely not the $10 million he got from the Cubs. I agree, though, he could have been a very good NFL reciever.

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