Between the lines of the baseball field, Jeff Samardzija has been the best in the business this year among starting pitchers.
Between the verbal lines, he was almost as good Wednesday after another gut-wrenching Cubs loss as a team and another no-decision for himself.
Cubs scouting reportCubs vs. San Diego Padres at Petco Park
TV: Comcast SportsNet Thursday; WGN Friday-Sunday
Radio: WGN 720-AM
Pitching matchups: The Cubs' Jake Arrieta (0-0) vs. Eric Stults (2-4) Thursday at 9:10 p.m.; Edwin Jackson vs. Robbie Erlin (3-4) Friday at 9:10 p.m.; Travis Wood (4-4) vs. TBD Saturday at 9:10 p.m.; Jason Hammel (5-2) vs. Ian Kennedy (2-6) Sunday at 3:10 p.m.
At a glance: Playing their home games at spacious Petco Park, the Padres were last in the National League in batting (. 221) entering Wednesday. The Padres also ranked last in runs, hits and on-base percentage. Former Cubs pitcher Andrew Cashner is on the disabled list with right-elbow inflammation. The Padres say the ailment will not require Tommy John surgery. San Diego pitching ranked second in the NL in ERA (3.14). For the Cubs, this begins a 10-game, 11-day road trip that ends in Milwaukee. Arrieta has not worked since May 13 at St. Louis.
Next: San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park Monday-Wednesday
-- Bruce Miles
Yes, the Cubs found yet another way to fritter away an outstanding start by their ace, as they lost 4-2 to the New York Yankees in 13 innings at Wrigley Field.
Samardzija worked 7 scoreless innings, lowering his major-league best ERA from 1.62 to 1.46 while throwing 95 pitches.
The Cubs led 2-0 going into the ninth, but Hector Rondon blew his first save of the season, thanks to a walk and a couple of hits on his part. Former Gold Glove second baseman Darwin Barney, who had just entered the game, committed a key throwing error to allow the tying run to score.
The Yankees finished it off in the 13th with a pair off wild former closer Jose Veras.
Samardzija's record held firm at 0-4, and he is winless in his last 16 starts. How does he process it?
"Chain of separate events, I'd say," he replied. "It's just the way it's gone."
Things got more interesting when he was asked if he felt his great start to the season is being wasted. Know that Samardzija is the subject of keen interest from other, contending, teams around baseball.
"We're not wasting anything," he said. "I think with modern technology, every game pretty much gets seen and watched. I don't think it's any secret with what I'm doing."
Your intrepid reporter here followed up on the "modern technology" reference by asking if Samardzija meant baseball people and those who matter in the game.
"Bingo," he replied.
Read what you will into that. Know, too, that the team across the field, the New York Yankees, could use a guy like Samardzija in their rotation.
"It's really nice to see how they run things, the players and how they play," he said. "There's a certain method to their madness with the guys they pick and the guys they decided to put in pinstripes. All their guys are professional, and they come out and play every day, and as you saw today, they'll play 13-14 innings, and they're professionals. In this game, that's what you need, guys who come out every day and do their job."
It's also important to note that Samardzija did not throw any of his teammates under the proverbial motor coach.
It was Rondon's first blown chance after 5 saves. He has worked in 4 straight games over five days.
"I understand how hard it is to do that, to go out every day, especially when you pitched the night before in a long game in bad weather to come back in a day game the next day and do it again," Samardzija said. "Hec's young. He's going to learn how to do it, and he's going to be really good. He's got amazing stuff, and he's got a great demeanor to be a closer."
Manager Rick Renteria said there was no concern about bringing Rondon back again after the previous night.
The silence in the Cubs clubhouse was enough of a statement of how badly Samardzija's teammates felt for him.
In the fateful ninth, Mark Teixeira singled before Rondon walked Brian McCann. Yangervis Solarte singled to load the bases. Ichiro Suzuki then grounded to shortstop Starlin Castro, who tossed to Barney for the forceout. One run scored as it was, but the second came home when Barney's throw went awry and past first baseman Anthony Rizzo.
"It's definitely different," Barney said of his error. "It just got away. Ichiro running, the grass is slow. I thought I had to rush a little bit. You look at it again, maybe I should have ate it or something like that. Trying to make a play, I'd rather go down that way than holding it …
"I feel terrible. I think we all feel like we had chances. The guy (Samardzija) went 7 scoreless again. He's the best pitcher in the league right now: American League, National League, Japanese League, it doesn't matter. I think he's proven that. The wins will come."
When and for whom?