Dale Sveum announced on Sunday morning that Jeff Samardzija will get the ball on Opening Day in Pittsburgh. The honor was between Samardzija and Matt Garza, but with Garza being shut down and starting the season on the disabled list, Sveum went ahead and made the announcement.
Jeff Samardzija will face A.J. Burnett and the Pirates at PNC Park on April 1.
Jeff Samardzija is coming off a breakout season in which he posted a 9-13 record in 28 starts with a 3.81 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. Samardzija showed a lot of improvement in the second half, and learned how to pitch, just not throw a baseball.
Samardzija was 3-5 in his last 11 starts with a 2.58 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. Samardzija struck out 80 batters, walked 19 and surrendered only 56 hits in 73 1/3 innings … and teams hit only .210, down 51 points from his first 17 starts. Samardzija was shut down for the year after an excellent outing in Pittsburgh on September 8 … so thanks to the schedule makers, Samardzija will make his next regular season start back at PNC Park.
Jeff Samardzija has had mixed results in his first two outings this spring. In five innings, Samardzija has allowed four hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
The Cubs’ Opening Day rotation figures to be Jeff Samardzija, Edwin Jackson, Scott Feldman, Travis Wood and Carlos Villanueva with Matt Garza and Scott Baker expected to miss at least the first month of the season.