Last season Jeff Samardzija’s successful transition from the bullpen to the starting rotation brought a pleasant feeling to an otherwise downer year for the Chicago Cubs. Samardzija represented a faint glimmer of hope for the future. He seemed somehow relaxed and unflappable while at the same time being intensely competitive. The combination was on display in the Cubs opening day game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Samardzija wasn’t biting his nails once during the game. He dominated the Pirates from the first pitch he threw until the last. That is another thing; the last pitch wasn’t number 150. Samardzija only threw a little over 100 pitches over eight shutout innings and allowed two hits. It simply doesn’t get much better than Samardzija’s opening day performance. That rosy feeling he brought to Cubs fans last season has been renewed. They might not win much this season but then again they might.
At least they know this: Every fifth day they will have a chance with Samardzija on the mound. What a great story he is for a great baseball city. This season will be full of stories all around Major League Baseball. Many of them will be negative but some will be very positive. Samardzija looks to be poised to be one of the great feel-good stories of the 2013 season. For certain he is a big story in Chicago on opening day. I just wished he was allowed to pitch the ninth to complete the shutout. Other than that it was a perfect day for the Cubs.