Cubs Jeff Samardzija Continues to Impress; Shuts Down Reds

Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija shut down the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday night, giving up only 1 run, over 7 2/3 innings, while striking out 7. The strong outing earned Samardzija his third win of 2012.

In a season where most fans were unsure if Samardzija would even be in the rotation, he’s turned out to be one of the few bright spots on a new Cubs team.

I was one of the people who thought Samardzija should remain in the bullpen, especially after the Sean Marshall trade. My logic being that losing Marshall made the bullpen less stable, and it couldn’t afford to lose another solid guy in Samardzija.

After a very shaky year in 2010, Samardzija really seemed to find his role in the bullpen last season, going 8-4, in 88 innings of work, with a career low ERA of 2.97.

Samardzija made it clear last off-season that he wanted to compete for the rotation, and he earned the No. 3 spot, after a very impressive Spring.

Now one month into his first full season as a starter, Samardzija is showing he’s a legitimate guy for the Cubs rotation. Sure he’s had a couple of forgettable starts, but who doesn’t in April?

It’s clear that Samardzija has the stuff of a big league starter, and when he’s really got his stuff like he did Wednesday, opposing hitters are in for a long night.

I initially did not like the decision by Cubs manager Dale Sveum to remove Samardzija with 2 outs in the bottom of the eighth. He had only thrown 94 pitches to that point and deserved at least one more batter, considering his low pitch count, and overall dominance.

In the end, it looks like Sveum made the move for the overall good of the team. Rafael Dolis got the final out in the eighth, and Carlos Marmol worked at very solid 1-2-3 ninth. Sveum showed trust in his bullpen, and it worked out.

The Cubs just haven’t had many save opportunities this season, and this win, hopefully gives the bullpen some much needed confidence. As for Samardzija, I’m sure his confidence level is doing just fine.

Follow Andrew Fisher on Twitter @the_realfish

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