Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija's success bright spot as Giants offense goes quiet

Jeff Samardzija's success bright spot as Giants offense goes quiet

In the Giants' frustrating series at Wrigley Field, at there was at least one clear bright spot -- Jeff Samardzija.

The Giants lost 1-0 to complete a three-game sweep at the hands of the Cubs, but to no fault of Samardzija. The former Cub showed the side of him that the Giants wanted when he was snagged in free agency back in 2015. 

He's just about cut last season's ERA in half, as he now boasts a sterling 3.44 ERA in 2019.

The Giants didn't play their best baseball during the recent road series, but that shouldn't take away from how Samardzija has been pitching.

“I think we missed an opportunity, but I don’t think it’s crippling,” Samardzija told reporters after the game, via Kerry Crowley of the Mercury News. “I think we’ve kind of shown here over the last couple of months that we can hang around and play some good ball and then we get hot.”

And July and August have been scorching for him.

In nine games, he's 5-2 and the Giants have compiled a 7-2 record in those games. Across 56 frames, he's boasted a 2.09 ERA and a minuscule 0.86 WHIP. And he's limiting batters to a .182/.235/.338 line.

Bochy has noticed it too. In the midst of his farewell tour -- the Cubs gifted him a No. 15 tile from the Wrigley Field wall to match his uniform number before the game -- he admitted it's been fun to watch what Samardzija has been doing.

“It’s a great story, isn’t it?” Bochy said. “What he’s done, how well he’s pitched, how consistent he’s been, it really is.”

[RELATED: Watch Shark's reaction to Longo homer]

The Giants manager did wish the team could have done more, however.

"It's hard to pitch a better game than what `Shark' did today," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's a shame we couldn't find a way to win that one for him."

Giants vs. Cubs lineups: Jeff Samardzija on mound trying to avoid sweep


Giants vs. Cubs lineups: Jeff Samardzija on mound trying to avoid sweep

The Giants will be closing out their time in the Windy City on Thursday with a matinee game as they send former Cub Jeff Samardzija to the hill.

Samardzija enters with a 9-9 record and sports a 3.54 ERA. He most recently earned a no-decision after throwing 5 1/3 innings in the Giants’ 10-9 win in Arizona on Friday night.

The Cubs will counter with Kyle Hendricks, who owns nearly identical numbers. The Chicago righty has an 8-9 record and a 3.37 ERA on the year.

Hendricks is making his regular-season debut against San Francisco, but he has faced off with the Orange and Black before. In the 2016 NLDS, Hendricks got the start in Game 2 and pitched 3 2/3 innings, allowing two runs as the Cubs won 5-2 inside the Friendly Confines.

Buster Posey is back behind the plate for the Giants after being off Wednesday and Scooter Gennett slides down to the seventh spot in the lineup after hitting second in last night’s game.

[RELATED: Giants' Brandon Crawford talks childhood hobbies through Topps cards]

Here are how the lineups look to shape up as the Cubs play host to the Giants on Thursday. You can follow the action on NBC Sports Bay Area or by downloading and streaming on the MyTeams app.

San Francisco Giants (63-64)
Mike Yastrzemski, RF
Buster Posey, C
Alex Dickerson, LF
Evan Longoria, 3B
Brandon Belt, 1B
Kevin Pillar, CF
Scooter Gennett, 2B
Brandon Crawford, SS
Jeff Samardzija, P (9-9, 3.54 ERA)
Chicago Cubs (68-58)
Jason Heyward, CF
Nicholas Castellanos, RF
Kris Bryant, 3B
Anthony Rizzo, 1B
Javier Baez, SS
Kyle Schwarber, LF
Ian Happ, 2B
Victor Caratini, C
Kyle Hendricks, P (8-9, 3.27 ERA)

Giants' Jeff Samardzija has priceless reaction to Evan Longoria homer

Giants' Jeff Samardzija has priceless reaction to Evan Longoria homer

Giants third baseman Evan Longoria has 16 home runs on the season -- and surely each one of them is memorable to an extent. But his 16th, in particular, was significant for Jeff Samardzija. 

In the top of the first inning of Wednesday's Giants-Cubs game, Longo hit a two-run homer to left field on a 2-0 pitch from Yu Darvish to take an early lead.

And Samardzija's face was priceless:

For you master lip readers out there, it appeared Shark said a version of "Oh, baby," which is as big of a compliment as you could receive. 

Madison Bumgarner was leaning up against the fence next to Samardzija. He didn't have quite the same reaction ... perhaps he knew it was gone the moment the bat made contact.

[RELATED: Giants offer updated timeline on Cueto return]

Either way, that face is worth a thousand words. So much so, we created a screengrab of it.

You're welcome.