Jeff Samardzija has been piling up a ton of strikeouts as a starting pitcher for the Chicago Cubs this year, and that trend continued during a 12-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday. Samardzija fanned 11 hitters in 6 1/3 innings of work, but he was charged with two runs that scored after he left the game and ended up earning a no decision. His evening also included a bit of drama.
At one point, Samardzija came close to hitting opposing starting pitcher Ian Kennedy with a couple of pitches. That led to the Cubs pitcher getting into it with Kennedy and D-Backs third base coach Matt Williams, which seemed to irritate Arizona manager Kirk Gibson.
“It’s part of the game,” Gibson told MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert after the game. “Whatever. He didn’t get the win did he? Maybe the next time he should just shut the [expletive] up and pitch.”
As far as his pitching performance was concerned, Gibson had nothing but good things to say about Samardzija.
“He’s throwing the ball really good this year,” he said. “I told [bench coach Alan Trammell] before the game, ‘I hope we can hang in there and get his pitch count up.’ He used to go shorter distances before it happened. He’s really improved a lot. I’ve been watching him.”
Despite his 3-6 record, Samardzija has held opposing hitters to a .203 batting average and has an ERA of 2.96. He has dominated in spurts for Chicago, which Gibson alluded to. But this is the same Kirk Gibson who skipped his son’s high school graduation because graduating is something you’re supposed to do. That should tell you all you need to know about his opinion on Samardzija barking at his third base coach.
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