By Jose M. Romero
PHOENIX Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija threw 88 pitches in five-plus innings in a 6-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks Friday night. He couldnt get a batter out in the sixth inning, walking the first two hitters before leaving a pitch up for Miguel Montero to rip for a two-run triple that broke the game open.
Samardzija fell to 5-6 with the loss. But manager Dale Sveum took note that one of his starting rotation stalwarts appears to wear down at a certain point in games.
Samardzija has been unable to make it through six full innings in each of his last four starts, the past three being losses. He was a relief pitcher all of last season and is in his first full season as a starter.
Theres something that we have to maybe monitor, because I think Im able to notice him, about the 80-pitch mark, the ball gets up, Sveum said. Thats when the walks start coming and so were going to have to monitor that, because its definitely getting to be a pattern.
Sveum didnt mention anything wrong with Samardzija mechanically. Samardzija, for his part, said he feels fine. He pitched well the first three innings Friday.
Honestly I feel better now than what I did (earlier in the season), Samardzija said after the game. If I go back and look at the film, I havent seen it yet the last couple of times out, but after the Boston game (June 16) I felt pretty good in how I threw and how the ball was coming out.
Samardzija blamed location for his mistakes Friday, not fatigue.
Sveum said before the game that he didnt have a problem with Samardzija throwing 110 pitches in a game as long as there hasnt been a lot of stress and its late in the game. Samardzija threw 110 and 108 pitches in two of his last three starts.
But Sveum might have to re-think what hell do at that high a pitch total for Samardzija given the pitchers struggles earlier in his pitch count Friday.