The Washington Nationals imminent decision to shutdown starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg has been drawing the attention of many media outlets as the Nationals push for the top spot in the National League. This makes it all more perplexing that almost none of the media outlets that are following Strasburg’s innings limit with the Nationals are also following starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija‘s innings limit with the Cubs. After all, don’t the Cubs need Samardzija to push the team’s effort to avoid 100 losses for the 2012 season. Okay, may be there is a difference between the Nationals’ decision on Strasburg and the Cubs’ decision on Samardzija.
Nonetheless, Cubs’ manager Dale Sveum announced on Friday that Saturday will be the last start of the season for Samardzija. Sveum indicated that Samardzija was relatively welcome of the news that he would be shutdown after his start on Saturday. The 27 year old Samardzija indicated that the decision was made after the Cubs calculated the total number of innings that the starting pitcher has thrown between his winter workouts, spring training starts, and regular season starts.
When the staff took into account Samardzija’s work not only in spring training but also during the winter, shutting him down was a much easier decision.
“That made it clear that essentially it was a 200-inning season for me if you take spring training,” Samardzija said. “And that made it a little easier for me to get a grasp on because that was a big number for me. If you want to do what you want to do in this game you have to be throwing up there in those innings.” ESPN Chicago
Regardless of how Samardzija fares in his start against the Washington Nationals on Saturday, this will be a successful season for the pitcher in his first full season as a starting pitcher at the Major League level. Samardzija has posted a record of 8-13 on the season to go along with an ERA of 3.91 and a WHIP of 1.26. In addition, Samardzija has 171 strikeouts to go against 55 base on balls in 165.2 innings of work this season for the Cubs.
After being skeptical of the Cubs’ decision to shift Samardzija from the bullpen to the starting rotation, the move turned out out to be one of the–if not–the best move of the 2012 season for the Cubs. I, personally, always projected Samardzija as being the Cubs’ late-inning reliever if not closer for the long-term future. Samardzija is indeed going to be a vital part of the Cubs’ long-term future, though it will be as a starting pitcher. With his efforts for the Cubs in 2012, Samardzija finally seemed to prove to the Cubs fans and all of Major League Baseball that he made the right decision in sticking with baseball after college instead of choosing a life in the National Football League. As we look forward to the 2013 season, Samardzija figures to be in the top half of the Cubs’ starting rotation. A returning Matt Garza will likely be the ace of the Cubs’ 2013 starting rotation, but, Samardzija is a prime candidate to be the #2 for the Cubs in their starting rotation for the 2013 season.