No, not in the sense that he hasn't performed well, but the support certainly hasn't been there for the outstanding right-hander. Unfortunately, that poor luck continued on Wednesday afternoon.
Despite the fact that he threw seven masterful innings of scoreless baseball against the New York Yankees, Samardzija was still unable to earn his first win of the season. SportsCenter provides a look at Samardzija's statistics through his first 10 starts of the 2014 MLB season:
Strange But True: Jeff Samardzija has a 1.46 ERA in 10 starts this season for Cubs. He has ZERO wins. pic.twitter.com/IhhJG7hOgh— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 21, 2014
Chicago is currently mired in a 16-28 season after losing to the Yankees, 4-2, in 13 innings on Wednesday. While Samardzija has been fantastic with his 1.46 ERA and 54-21 strikeout-to-walk ratio, he currently holds an 0-4 record.
In fact, his ERA currently leads the majors, as MLB's official account notes:
As for Samardzija's thoughts on the situation, he spoke about the recognition he's getting for a strong start to the season despite his team's woeful play, per Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago:
Samardzija: “We’re not wasting anything. With modern technology, every game gets seen. I don’t think it’s any secret what I’m doing."— Patrick Mooney (@CSNMooney) May 21, 2014
Needless to say, it's not all tough times for the starter. And while getting a win doesn't mean quite what it used to with the emergence of advanced metrics, the poor run support certainly adds unwanted stress for a pitcher who has been brilliant on the mound.
Andy Glockner of Sports Illustrated questions why the righty wasn't given more of a chance to earn the win:
Jeff Samardzija's luck is ridiculously bad, but was there a reason he was lifted after 7 IP today with under 100 pitches?— Andy Glockner (@AndyGlockner) May 21, 2014
The writing is on the wall in Chicago, and it has been since spring training: Samardzija will likely be suiting up for another team before the trade deadline ends.
One pitcher familiar with the situation spoke with Samardzija a few weeks back. Matt Garza, who was traded to the Texas Rangers last season, gave advice to Samardzija:
"I told him: ‘It doesn’t matter, dude You play in Chicago. I was there and I lost 30 wins in three seasons. So it’s not your fault. Just pitch your way out of it,’" Garza said, per Mooney. "...Keep your eyes focused. Keep your eyes straight ahead and just pitch. There’s nothing else you can do."
Should Samardzija be traded this season?
If the futility continues in Chicago—which it likely will in that division—the ace could wind up with any number of contenders in the future. While the Cubbies certainly need arms to go along with bats like Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro, the offense clearly isn't cutting it, either.
Given the Cubs' current farm system, names like Javier Baez and Kris Bryant will benefit it by having young arms in the fold for the future. With Samardzija showing near-perfection early in the season, his status as the ultimate trade chip in baseball is increasing in popularity.
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