Renteria: Samardzija a winner despite record
It’s a raw, cold, wet day at Wrigley, and the tarp is on the field less than an hour before today’s schedule game against the Brewers. Jeff Samardzija will pitch for the Cubs against Kyle Lohse. Despite his 0-3 record, Samardzija has as 1.45 ERA, which ranks second in the National League to Johnny Cueto of the Reds. Cueto’s ERA is 1.25.
Samardzija is winless in his last 14 starts dating to last Aug. 30. According to the Cubs and Elias, Samardzija is the first pitcher since at least 1900 to give up 3 or fewer in each of his first 8 starts to a season and not earn at least 1 victory.
Despite the record, manager Rick Renteria said Samardzija is a winner to his way of thinking.
“Jeff’s an excellent pitcher,” Renteria said. “He’s obviously turning into one of the premier guys in the league. To put a stigma on him right now based on what’s happened, he’s controlled everything he absolutely can control. He’s pitched winning baseball. He may not have any victories on the end of his record sheet, but for me, he’s won every single time he’s gone out there.”
The Cubs’ 13-26 start is their slowest start through 39 games since the 2002 club went 13-26 (and 13-27 through 40 games).
Reliever Zac Rosscup was in the clubhouse today. He was placed on the DL this week because of left-shoulder soreness.
“There’s nothing serious,” he said. “It’s just showing some extra inflammation and a little bit of fluid. Nothing too serious.”
Former closer Jose Veras made his first appearance yesterday since coming off the DL. Veras pitched two-thirds of an inning and gave up no hits and no runs.
“We’ll chip away and let him have his successes and just continue to work and we’ll see how it evolves,” Renteria said.
The manager also said there was no intent yesterday at hitting Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, who took exception to a pitch up and in from Neil Ramirez. Molina appeared to yell into the Cubs dugout at Busch Stadium.
“We told him, ‘Hey, why would we want to hit you?’” Renteria said “There’s no reason. There’s no purpose. It would serve nothing at that point, so there was nothing there.”
Class AAA Iowa got 8 scoreless innings from Kyle Hendricks Thursday in beating Round Rock 2-0. Hendricks gave up 3 hits while walking none and striking out 11. He is 4-3 with a 3.06 ERA. The innings and the strikeouts were career highs for Hendricks. Arismendy Alcantara was 2-for-3 with a double, a triple and a walk. Blake Parker earned his seventh save.
Class AA Tennessee lost in 11 innings, 6-5 at Mississippi. Joel Pineiro got no decision as he worked 5 innings and gave up 8 hits and 3 runs, 2 earned. Rafael Lopez hit his fourth homer, going 2-for-5 with a walk. He leads the Southern League in batting average (.330), OBP (.460) and is second in slugging (.560). His 1.020 OPS also is second. Kris Bryant went 2-for-6 with his league-leading 34th RBI. Bryant also leads the league in slugging (.615) and OPS (1.037).
Class A Daytona was rained out. The Kane County Cougars (A) dropped their fourth in a row, 7-0 to Quad Cities. Duane Underwood took the loss, going 3 innings and giving up 6 hits and 6 runs, 1 earned. The Cougars managed just 5 singles on offense.