Last season Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija dominated the Pittsburgh Pirates. It looks like 2013 will be more of the same as he held the Pirates to just two hits in eight innings. He struck out every starter at least once, except Garrett Jones and Russell Martin, for a total of nine punch-outs. He allowed only one runner to reach third base while he was on the mound.
The only bad thing about Samardzija’s outing was his pitch count got a little high, 110 pitches through eight innings, so he wasn’t able to finish out the ballgame. Some might question the decision to pull him by Cubs manager Dale Sveum, but I think this early in the season you don’t want to tax your ace too much. The Cubs gave the ball to Carlos Marmol and he almost blew it. Marmol wound up getting pulled and the Cubs were able to hold on and win 3-1.
Pirates starter A.J. Burnett was quite shaky allowing three runs in 5 2/3 innings. He managed to whiff ten batters, but he had two bad innings, the first and the sixth, and his day ended a little early.
The good thing the Pirates can take away from opening day is that they were able to get to the Cubs for a run once Samardzija left the game. Also the Cubs pitching staff isn’t filled with a bunch of guys like Samardzija, so things should get easier for the Pirates offense when they get back to action on Wednesday. One game down, just 161 to go.