Game Thirty-Five – Cubs (12-22) vs. Braves (19-15)
- Game Time – 6:10pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 187, 844
- Location – Turner Field, Atlanta
Jeff Samardzija (0-3, 1.62/1.12/3.05) vs. Ervin Santana (3-0, 2.41/1.04/2.43)
Weather permitting … The Cubs will shoot to end a bad week of baseball on a positive note tonight behind Jeff Samardzija. The Cubs are not hitting and it will not get any easier for the offense with Ervin Santana on the hill.
It will be interesting to see how Rick Renteria handles Jeff Samardzija and if the Cubs shorten him up tonight after he threw 126 pitches in his last outing. The Braves were interested in trading for Samardzija during the off-season and Frank Wren will get a firsthand look at Samardzija tonight. All eyes will be on Samardzija once again.
The last time Samardzija pitched at Turner Field (April 7, 2013) he posted a career-high 13 strikeouts and dominated the Braves’ lineup over the first four innings of the game. Samardzija could not control his emotions and he was gone from the game before he could complete six innings.
With Starlin Castro and Welington Castillo everyday starters from the right side and Mike Olt showing a lot of improvement at the plate, and in the field, in recent days, tonight’s starting eight should feature five lefties and three right handed hitters. Lefties (.233/.303/.373) have hit slightly better that right handed hitters (.210/.234/.277) against Ervin Santana this year.
Tonight all starts with Jeff Samardzija …
Jeff Samardzija is coming off one of his best starts in the big leagues. Samardzija dominated the White Sox for nine innings and gave up one unearned run on three hits. Samardzija issued two free passes and struck out seven batters on a career-high 126 pitches. Samardzija appeared to get stronger as the night went on and he did everything he could to beat the Sox. Samardzija even broke up Jose Quintana’s no-hit bid with the Cubs only extra basehit of the night and scored the Cubs lone run.
Jeff Samardzija has been almost as good on the road this year (0-1 in three starts with a 1.83 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP) as he’s been at Wrigley (0-2 in four starts with a 1.48 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP). And Samardzija will shoot to pick up his seventh quality start tonight in eight tries.
Tonight will be Samardzija’s fourth career start versus the Braves. Samardzija is 2-1 in nine games, three starts, with a 3.46 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. Samardzija faced the Braves only one time a year ago (0-1 with a 6.35 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, four runs on four hits with four walks and 13 strikeouts) and after an excellent start to his afternoon, he could not complete six innings. For his career, Samardzija is 1-1 in six appearances, two starts, at Turner Field with a 4.76 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP.
Braves Career Numbers against Jeff Samardzija
- Dan Uggla: 2-for-17 with one home run and one walk
- Chris Johnson: 1-for-9
- Jason Heyward: 1-for-9 with one home run
- Justin Upton: 2-for-9 with one double and one walk
- Freddie Freeman: 0-for-6 with one walk
- Ryan Doumit: 1-for-3 with one double
- Evan Gattis: 0-for-2 with one walk
- Tyler Pastornicky: 2-for-3
- Ramiro Pena: 2-for-3 with one double
- B.J. Upton: 1-for-3 with two walks
- Andrelton Simmons: 0-for-1 with one walk
- Gerald Laird: 1-for-1 with one double
Ervin Santana signed in Spring Training with the Braves after Tommy John surgery removed two pitchers from their starting rotation (Kris Medlen, Brandon Beechy). Santana has thrown the ball extremely well but is coming off his first no decision of the season. Santana struggled for the first time in a Braves’ uniform on April 25 against the Reds (four runs on nine hits with one walk and seven strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings) and lasted six innings in Miami the last time out. Santana gave up three runs on five hits with three walks and five strikeouts to the Fish.
Ervin Santana is 2-0 in two starts at The Ted this season with a 2.45 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP. Santana is making his first career start against the Cubs tonight.
Emilio Bonifacio (0-for-6 with one walk), Luis Valbuena (2-for-6) and Ryan Kalish (0-for-3) are the only players on the Cubs’ active roster that have faced Ervin Santana in a big league ballgame.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …