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Cubs’ Samardzija Finally Records Win

Thanks to some rare run support, Chicago's Jeff Samardzija picked up his first win of the year on Monday.

Thanks to some rare run support, Jeff Samardzija picked up his first win of the year on Monday.

Before Monday, Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija had enjoyed a fine season.

In 10 games, the 23-year-old right-hander recorded a 1.46 ERA; was averaging 5.4 strikeouts per game; had allowed just 11 earned runs; and yielded just two home runs.

Yet, despite these first class statistics and thanks to playing for the Cubs, Samardzija did not record a victory. That changed on Monday.

The man they call Shark took to the mound for a Memorial Day matchup against the San Francisco Giants, the first of three games the two sides will play this week.

20140526_NL_CentralIn seven innings of play, Samardzija allowed four runs, three of them earned, on six hits. The three earned runs were tied for most the righty has yielded this season, and this part of his performance was far from his best.

However, Samardzija also struck out a season-best 10 batters, and was rewarded with rare run support from the Cubs’ offense.

Five Cubs has two-hit games. Nate Schierholtz hit a solo home run. Emilio Bonifacio had a triple and a two-out RBI. Samardzija himself hit a two-out double to score Schierholtz in the fifth. The Cubs ultimately finished the game with 13 hits, defeating the Giants 8-4 in the process.

The result saw Samardzija pick up his first win since August 24, 2013, a stretch of 16 games without a win.

It was also just the second time the Cubs have won a game this season when the right-hander starts a game.

20140526_NL_WestWhile the performance wasn’t necessarily what he would have liked, the victory was only fitting for one of the National League’s best pitchers this season. Samardzija is one of the few bright spots on a Chicago lineup that is once more struggling. His time with the Cubs could be coming to a close though.

With the Cubs expected to be a seller ahead of the trade deadline this season, Samardzija represents a valuable trading chip. Teams in search of solid starting pitching – the New York Yankees anyone? – will be only too happy to take Samardzija on board.

Samardzija, a fifth round pick (149th overall) in the 2006 amateur draft, will be eligible for arbitration in 2015 and a free agent in 2016, which makes this summer a good time for a contender to pick up his contract.

Baseball GMs will wait until after next month’s Major League Baseball draft (June 5-7) before they start looking into possible trades, with many holding off until closer to the July 31 trade deadline.

For now Samardzija remains with the Cubs but just imagine the possibilities if the right-hander is to find himself in new surroundings.


Chicago (19-30, 9-17 road) will continue its series against San Francisco (32-19, 17-9 home) at AT&T Park on Tuesday, with first pitch scheduled for 10:15 p.m. ET.

Jake Arrieta (1-0, 2.33 ERA) will look to follow Samardzija’s lead and give the Cubs a chance to win a second straight game. The 28-year-old right-hander has allowed just five earned runs in four games (19.1 innings) this season.

San Francisco will counter with Tim Hudson (4-2, 2.13 ERA). The 38-year-old right-hander has had a solid start to the season but hasn’t registered a win in his last three starts, despite only allowing four earned runs over that period. He’ll be looking for the ‘W’ on Tuesday.

Chicago Cubs vs. San Francisco Giants odds for 05/27/2014

San Francisco (-173) opened as the favorite over Chicago (+163) on the moneyline and has seen that advantage stretch.

The total for the game opened at 7 but has dropped to 6.5 with most sportsbooks.

The total went over in Monday’s Memorial Day game, snapping a streak of six straight games between the clubs at AT&T Park in which the total had gone under.

The Cubs are 5-4 against NL West opposition this season, while the Giants are 1-3 versus teams from the NL Central.

San Francisco is 20-11 against right-handed pitching, while Chicago is 13-25.

The two clubs will close out the series on Wednesday (3:45 p.m. ET).


For a full list of today’s Major League Baseball odds, click here.

For MLB Futures odds, courtesy of Bovada, click here.

For team prop bets, click here.

For player prop bets, click here.


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