Jeff Samardzija Cruises Past the Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs Win 5-1
The Cubs now have a modest two-game winning streak to push their record to 12-17.
Here is what we learned and the questions we have after this Cubs victory.
Jeff Samardzija Is on a Mission
Many have wondered out loud if Samardzija mistakenly went pro in the wrong sport due to his ineffectiveness in his first couple of years in a Cubs uniform. With management giving Samardzija another shot as a starting pitcher, he is out to prove the doubters wrong.
After his dominating performance against the Atlanta Braves, many of his critics could be rethinking their stance on Samardzija. He pitched seven strong innings while allowing one run on five hits and striking out seven.
What was even more impressive in his outing was he threw 15 first-pitch strikes to the 27 batters he faced. On 106 pitches, 66 of them were strikes.
He has kept the ball down this season, as he has only given up two home runs thus far. Opponents are batting .244 against him overall. At home, they are hitting only .154.
Cubs Go Yard Three Times
This is not a misprint, folks.
It was a rare sight to see as the Cubs smacked three home runs against the Braves, including going back-to-back with Bryan LaHair and Ian Stewart.
Geovany Soto cemented the win with a two-run home run in the eighth inning.
Could the Cubs become an offensive powerhouse where home runs will be flying out of the ballpark on a daily basis? It is very doubtful considering Alfonso Soriano and Starlin Castro have combined for one home run on the season.
Can Carlos Marmol Be Trusted?
Marmol came into the eighth inning to hold a 3-1 Cubs edge but he nearly coughed up the lead.
The crowd booed relentlessly after Marmol walked the first two batters and even more when he threw a wild pitch to advance the runners to second and third to begin the eighth.
However, after Freddie Freeman lined out, Marmol was able to strike out both Brian McCann and Dan Uggla to get out of the jam.
Although Marmol was able to leave the inning unscathed, he did it in an ugly and frustrating fashion.
It's obvious Marmol has lost confidence in his pitches, and his command is atrocious. It would be hard to see Dale Sveum having any confidence in sending Marmol out to secure a lead if he continues having roller-coaster innings.
If Marmol can not be trusted in a setup role, the Cubs would use him in a long-relief role or they could possibly look to move him during the trade deadline.
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