Same ole’ song and dance for Samardzija, Cubs


May 22, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher

Jeff Samardzija

(29) throws a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Same story, different day.

That’s probably the best way to describe Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija’s latest outing. He was absolutely dominant, throwing seven innings of one-run, three-hit ball, only to be saddled with a loss because the Chicago bats couldn’t have hit beach balls, let alone the pitches coming from rejuvenated left-hander Francisco Liriano.

A Garrett Jones first-inning RBI single was the difference in the game, as neither pitcher allowed a run after that point. And as Cubs fans have become increasingly immune to, another quality start was wasted. Wednesday’s loss marks the 17th time the team has lost a quality start, in which Chicago pitchers have a minuscule 1.98 earned run average. There are just four teams in the entire National League with more quality starts than the Cubs: St. Louis, Philadelphia, the Diamondbacks and the Nationals.

After the game, the Cubs right-hander had this to say about the situations he’s found himself in this year.

“You take it with a grain of salt,” Samardzija said. “You’re going out to do your job, regardless of what the outcome is. Every fifth day, you’re going to get a start and know what to expect. You can only control what you can control. You want to go out and keep doing what you’re doing, and if it’s going well, keep going, and if not, make a couple adjustments to get back to where you need to be. It’s just the way this game goes sometimes. You can get a win and give up five runs sometimes.”

The team dropped to 6-12 in one-run ballgames this year. The offense yet again failed to deliver, and perhaps no situation more accurately depicts the team’s struggles this year than the third inning, when Chicago loaded the bases with no outs, yet failed to score. Despite all three hitters being ahead in their respective counts, Julio Borbon hit into a force out, Starlin Castro struck out swinging and Anthony Rizzo flied out to right field, ending any chances of the Cubs tying the game. The Cubs entered yesterday’s contest batting .218 with runners in scoring position, and went on to go 0-for-6 for the game.

“It’s the same song and dance — we get people on and can’t get them in,” Sveum said during his post game news conference.