Jeff Samardzija had another outstanding start against the Atlanta Braves on Sunday in a 5-1 loss for the Chicago Cubs. The final score doesn’t show how dominant Samardzija was until the wheels came off in the fifth inning though. Samardzija finished the day with 13 strikeouts and only gave up four hits, and the Braves hitters couldn’t touch his fastball.
Cubs fans are still asking why Samardzija went away from his fastball in the fifth inning. I don’t know if was the catcher, the pitching coach, or Samardzija calling the pitches, but what I do know is that person made a very bad decision. Even the announcers for the Braves kept asking why he wasn’t going back to his unhittable fastball on a consistent basis.
Samardzija has experience at the big league level as well as with in the Cubs organization. He needs to become a leader. He needs to mentor his fellow pitchers, and he also needs to be the best pitcher on the staff.
If Samardzija can continue to pitch like he did early in the game on Sunday, he will lead the Cubs pitching staff in wins, quality innings, earned run average, and strikeouts. He has proven he has the ability to be the ace.
Even though he is still a relatively young player, I believe he has the maturity to take the next step in his development – now he needs to step up and accept the responsibility of leading this staff.
By Reid Lester