The only positive I could draw upon while walking away from Wrigley Field Wednesday afternoon was the nice weather–87-degrees and sunny.
I mean, what positives are there after a 17-1 drubbing against the Mets? Here’s the short answer: there are none.
The real kicker, however, was the Cubs lone run scored despite a continuous breeze blowing straight out to centerfield. That’s unheard of under such conditions.
Everyone knows the first order of business upon entering Wrigley is checking the centerfield flags–then comes the Vienna beef hot dogs and Old Style.
Wind Blowing Out
No lead is safe with the wind blowing straight out at Wrigley Field. Get the ball up in the air and there’s a likely chance it finds its way to the bleachers.
Theoretically, both teams are always in the game–unless, of course, you’re down by 16-runs in the bottom of the ninth.
Anthony Rizzo’s double off the wall in the third inning was as close as the Cubs got to hitting the home run ball. New York, on the other hand, had its first seven hits go for extra bases, and smashed four HR total on the afternoon, one a grand slam.
Meanwhile, the Cubs hit Mets starter Jonathan Niese (6-3) as if the wind was blowing straight in from centerfield–not out–touching him for the one run on eight hits in 7.0 solid innings.
So What Happened To Shark?
Jeff Samardzija was far from his early-season Shark Attack form Wednesday, which has been the case throughout the entire month of June.
Dales Sveum has every right to be worried about Samardzija’s recent run of poor starts. Samardzija’s (0-4) with a bloated 11.29 ERA over his last four outings.
”I’d be lying if I weren’t concerned a little bit with the numbers, and the execution of pitches obviously hasn’t been too good for four or five starts now,” said Sveum.
The ongoing problem, as it was again Wednesday, is Samardzija’s faulty pitch location. He might as well have been Randy Wells; falling behind time-and-time again to the Mets batters.
Wind blowing out, hitter’s counts, pitches left up–and boom goes the dynamite: 9 ER in 4.1 IP.
I touched on Samardzija’s recent struggles in a post last Saturday:
June 23: This post isn’t about throwing mud on Jeff Samardzija. He’s done well in the big-picture outlook. But let’s not crown the Shark a true No.2 starter just yet.
If Jeff learns to master the three lessons I listed in the post above, in particular the first two (Learning to become a pitcher vs. a thrower & Pitching out of trouble), there’s a good chance this kid reaches the high-potential many Cubs fans believe he’s capable of this season and beyond.
Otherwise, the Cubs have a tough decision on their hands come the trade deadline with the realization Samardzija is no Matt Garza, not to mention, the Shark’s expiring contract come season’s end.