Pro baseball

No pity party for Cubs' ace Samardzija

2014-05-07T21:00:00Z 2014-10-04T20:13:10Z No pity party for Cubs' ace SamardzijaAl Hamnik al.hamnik@nwi.com, (219) 933-4154 nwitimes.com
May 07, 2014 9:00 pm  • 

CHICAGO | Please don't cry for Jeff Samardzija.

Don't light a candle and hope the demons plaguing the Cubs' tough-luck pitcher can be exorcised.

Like 13 consecutive starts without a win, during which time he is 0-5.

"Nobody should feel sorry for me. Nobody," said the Valparaiso native. "I go out and do my work and I feel great.

"Sometimes, a couple of balls just bounce a different way. It's crazy."

Samardzija remains positive and upbeat, or else he's the world's greatest actor at 0-3 in seven starts this season with a 1.62 ERA.

"I don't pay attention to numbers," he said before Wednesday's game with the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. "I feel good because of the work I'm doing and how hard I'm busting my butt.

"I know what the results are; I know how it's going and how I'm pitching, and that's what I'm focusing on."

The lack of offensive support is mostly to blame. In Wednesday's game, six of the nine Cubs starters were hitting .260 or less.

It could be worse, of course. White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana had an American League record 17 no-decisions last year and has 31 since the beginning of the 2012 campaign.

Samardzija's last win came in August of 2013 and he has six quality starts this season, including that nine-inning, three-hit, one-run outing against the Sox on Monday night in which he threw a career-high 126 pitches.

And now there's a controversy over Samardzija's pitch count after Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said it was too high even though the powerful righty looked strong through nine, adding the wins stat is a "dangerous" thing because you don't need it in this day and age to be considered a top-of-the-rotation pitcher.

Manager Rick Renteria said he kept his ace in the game because he wanted him to get the win.

"This is an on-field issue with uniformed personnel and that's all there is to it," said Samardzija, who was concerned but not upset by the views of upper management.

"I'm a grown man. I'm 29. I'm not a prospect at 22. I think I'm grown up enough and responsible enough to understand when I can go and when I can't go. I've earned my right in athletics to be able to understand my body and where I'm at."

Sox ace Chris Sale continues recovering from a left elbow injury after throwing a career-high 127 pitches against the Red Sox weeks ago.

"It's different for everybody," Samardzija said. "You don't bring kids up through the system and coach every kid the same. There's different things you do for different guys.

"Do I want to go out and throw 128 pitches every time? Absolutely not. But there's times when it's called for; times it needs to get done and someone's got to do it."

Samardzija said this isn't news.

"It should be the other way around. Why did this guy only throw 75 pitches and then come out after five innings? What's that about?"

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