SAN FRANCISCO – Jeff Samardzija’s mind-bending winless streak is finally over. He’s still thrown his name into the All-Star conversation, whether or not he’ll still be wearing a Cubs uniform by then.
“I’m not a big accolades guy,” Samardzija said. “I’m not a big goals guy. Outside of 200-plus innings, I don’t really set too many goals. I just understand that your game speaks for yourself. You go out, and you do your job, and you do it well, people notice.”
Everyone noticed, from the Elias Sports Bureau to the scouts covering the team to Cubs fans wondering why they’re going to trade a homegrown ace. Plus his buddies who gave him a beer shower after Monday’s victory over the best team in baseball.
“For me, he’s an All-Star,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “He’s just being himself, quite frankly. He has been becoming the pitcher that he is right now: a guy with great stuff, a guy that commands the zone, a guy with great competitive temperament on the hill. He gets after it.”
The Cubs got a reality check at AT&T Park after Tuesday night’s 4-0 loss to Tim Hudson and the San Francisco Giants left them with the worst record in baseball (19-31).
Samardzija (1.68) is neck-and-neck with St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright (1.67) for the major-league lead in ERA and it feels like the Cubs have wasted his emergence as a frontline starter.
Somehow, the Cubs went 2-14 during a winless stretch that dated back to last August, even though Samardzija posted a 2.99 ERA in those 16 starts. He gave up zero earned runs in four starts, one or less in seven starts and two or less in 10 starts.
Samardzija became the first pitcher to lead his league in ERA without a win on Memorial Day or later since Hall of Famer/Cubs closer Bruce Sutter in 1977.
“He deserves to have a lot of wins right now,” outfielder Nate Schierholtz said. “He goes out there and battles every start and gives us a great chance."
Samardzija feels like he’s just getting started, and that confidence fueled his desire to become a free agent after the 2015 season. All-Star or not – and wherever he’s pitching this summer – Samardzija has unfinished business.
“We’ll keep going,” Samardzija said. “It’s still early in the season, only about a third of the way through with starts, so we got a lot left to do. We’re going to keep working and keep building on this.”