Last season, Jeff Samardzija was a solid, if not much more than slightly above average pitcher for the Cubs (9-13, with a 3.81 ERA), and had a bit of a penchant for chirping at opposing players (gained reputation after hitting Paul Konerko in the head with a pitch last May). Samardzija is a guy with a good fastball in the mid 90s, along with a hard sinker, along with a cutter, splitter, and a slider. While Samardzija doesn’t have great control of all of these pitches, his ability to throw all of them at a competent level makes him tough to hit, with batters having to try very hard to guess what they’re going to face next, out of so many options.
Samardzija also had some success against the Pirates last year, in an outing in July only giving up one hit over eight innings to the Pirates, and in his last start of the year firing a complete game against the Pirates, getting a 4-3 win. Based off of his previous successes against the Pirates, Samardzija is a concern for tomorrow’s game to be sure, but he’s certainly not unsolvable. With a few control issues here and there, Samardzija is a guy that you can certainly string a rally or two together against, and provided that AJ takes care of business like we know he can, the Pirates should be able to pull the game out tomorrow, setting themselves on a pace to go 162-0 for the season. Considering the late season failures of the 2011 and 2012 teams, it has been an awfully long offseason, and tomorrow our Buccos will return to us. Here’s to chasing Samardzija early, and putting a few ticks up on the Bucco Blast tracker in right field. Hopefully the Pirates will be raising the Jolly Roger sometime late tomorrow afternoon.