Rain washes away Samardzija, Cubs in doubleheader nightcap

Rain washes away Samardzija, Cubs in doubleheader nightcap
June 28, 2014, 10:00 pm
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Tony Andracki

It's not even July and Jeff Samardzija has seemingly been through it all already this season.

During Saturday's 7-2 loss to Washington, he was faced with new adversity that tested his patience.

Some eight hours after he got to the ballpark, Samardzija finally took the hill in the second game of the Cubs-Nationals doubleheader before a rain delay halted the game for nearly an hour in the fourth inning.

By the time Samardzija came back, he appeared to lose his mojo, getting rocked for four runs in the fifth inning as the Nationals hitters chased him from the game.

"He's a guy that wants to grind it out," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "He wants to stay in there and he wants to keep getting after it, but today just wasn't his day, that's all."

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Samardzija finished the day allowing six runs - five earned - on seven hits and two homers in five innings as his ERA rose to 2.83 and he was slapped with his seventh loss of the season.

Samardzija insisted the rain delay didn't throw him off his rhythm, even though the first pitch he threw coming out of the break wound up in the left field bleachers, courtesy of Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos.

"I felt pretty good," he said. "I sat in the dugout the whole time and made sure I stayed prepared mentally. Outside of that first pitch, which was over the plate, I really don't think it affected me too much. They put the bat on the ball and found some holes.

"Coming out of the break in a tie ballgame and then leaving a 6-2 game is not what you want. I felt really good out there today, which usually means you're going to pitch deep into a game and when that doesn't happen, you usually get a little frustrated."

Samardzija refused to make excuses with the rain delay or the seeing-eye base hits that kept finding holes off the Nationals' bats, especially in that fifth inning.

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"They were singles," he said. "Sometimes those go at guys and you get a double play and you get out of those innings. Sometimes they go up the middle and go through the four-hole and then you're battling.

"When you're pitching to contact, that's sort of the dice you're rolling and you understand that in the long haul, it's going to work out in your favor more so than not."

In 11 of Samardzija's 17 starts, the Cubs have provided him two runs or fewer in support. Today, the two runs came off Luis Valbuena's bat with a homer in the fourth inning and represented the only Cubs runs of the doubleheader. In total, the Cubs had just nine hits between the two games.

"Today totally was not our day," Renteria said.

The day started out good enough with rookie Dallas Beeler making his impressive big-league debut. When Samardzija is traded - which looks like the foregone conclusion leading up to the deadline - Beeler could be the guy that gets the call and gets an opportunity to showcase his stuff in the rotation.

"Beeler showed really good stuff today," Renteria said. "He's a Cubbie now and what the future holds for any of our guys, I don't know. Obviously, I don't have a crystal ball."