There has to be some concern creeping in about Jeff Samardzija.
June has busted out all over the big Cubs right-hander.
The New York Mets roughed up Samardzija and reliever Casey Coleman on Wednesday, crushing the Cubs 17-1 at hot and windy Wrigley Field to avoid a three-game sweep.
“I’d be lying if I weren’t concerned a little bit with the numbers, and the execution of pitches obviously hasn’t been too good for four or five starts now,” said Cubs manager Dale Sveum, whose team fell to 26-49.
After beating the Padres on May 29, Samardzija had a record of 5-3 with an ERA of 3.09. He’s now at 5-7 with a 5.05 ERA. In 5 June starts, he is 0-4 with a 10.41 ERA, having given up 27 earned runs in 23 innings pitched.
“The last couple starts, I hadn’t been too disappointed; today was a different story,” said Samardzija, who lasted 4 innings, giving up 6 hits and 9 runs while walking four and striking out one. “The walks are unacceptable, especially with the conditions we had today.
“If you’re going to give up home runs, they have to be solo home runs. You just can’t put those guys on base for free. Every guy that got on base for free scored. That’s all you need to know.”
Samardzija is in his first full year as a major-leaugue starting pitcher. Last year, he worked 88 innings out of the bullpen. This year, he’s up to 87.
He insists the workload hasn’t gotten to him.
“I feel great, man,” he said. “It’s more mental than physical. I need to make better adjustments and make better pitch selections.”
The Mets broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth inning with 3 runs, 2 coming on Daniel Murphy’s first home run of the season. New York scored 6 each in the fifth and sixth innings to blow it open. Ike Davis chased Samardzija in the fifth with a 3-run homer.
Samardzija will stay in the rotation. The Cubs are strapped as it is, with Randy Wells having been designated for assignment, meaning they’ll need a starter in that spot next week before Ryan Dempster comes off the disabled list.
In the meantime, they’ll have to figure something out with Samardzija.
Sveum wouldn’t rule out any diagnosis, including Samardzija having hit the proverbial wall, at least for the time being.
“It could be,” the manager said. “It could just be confidence. It could be mechanical. It could be all of the above.”
There’s the immediate future, and there’s the long-term future. Samardzija wants to get things fixed for the former. As for the latter, he’d like to join shortstop Starlin Castro and first baseman Anthony Rizzo as a key part in the Cubs’ future.
“I want to be a very huge part of this,” he said. “I’m not as young as those guys are age wise, but I still have a fair amount to learn, and I’m learning that right now. This is the process we’re at. In the sport we play, in professional sports, you got to win right now, and you got to put results up now.
“This isn’t a two-year plan for me, or a year plan. This is a four-day plan. When I come out the next time, it’s got to be better, and it’s going to be better. That’s the way it goes.”
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