Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum made the announcement this weekend that Notre Dame alum and Merrillville, Indiana native Jeff Samardzija will be the team’s opening day starter, when the Chicago Cubs take on the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 1st.
This announcement should come as no surprise, as not only was Jeff Samardzija by far the best starter for the Chicago Cubs in 2012, but he is also actually the longest serving member of the rather unimpressive Cubs pitching staff. In 2012, Samardzija finished his season with a 3.81 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and 180 strikeouts, in spite of a losing record due mostly to playing on an awful team. Although it was Jeff Samardzija’s first season in the MLB pitching only as a starter, Samardzija had an excellent year in 2011 in relief, compiling an ERA of 2.97 in 75 appearances. In two starts in Spring Training this year, Jeff Samardzija has gone 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA.
With Matt Garza out for a while and the rest of the pitching roster comprised mostly of newcomers, Jeff Samardzija really was the only reasonable choice to start the season for the Chicago Cubs. Although he is hardly a superstar, he is a hard working pitcher that is capable of winning a few games for the Cubs while eating up a ton of innings. Samardzija still has room to grow, and hopefully the confidence bestowed by being chosen as the opening day starter for your team will give the young pitcher the boost he needs to reach his true potential as a player.