- Doug Padilla, Chicago White Sox beat reporter
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HOW IT HAPPENED: Jeff Samardzija was crushed and Casey Coleman wasn’t much better Wednesday as the Mets set a season high in runs scored and in home runs, with four. Samardzija gave up nine runs in 4 1/3 innings, and he finished the month of June with a whimper. Over his last four starts, the right-hander has a 12.27 ERA and has given up at least five runs in three of those outings. Other than a Luis Valbuena’s RBI double, the offense was stagnant. Anthony Rizzo doubled off the wall in his second game with the Cubs.
WHAT IT MEANS: Samardzija is supposed to be a building block for the future, but he suddenly isn’t looking like a decent bullpen option at this point. With the wind blowing out, manager Dale Sveum warned against leaving the ball up in the zone and his fears became a reality. Samardzija’s issues have been in abundance of late, with leaving the ball up in the zone only one of them. He has been falling behind in counts, didn’t have use of his curveball in his last outing and hasn’t had an effective split-finger pitch.
OUTSIDE THE BOX: There goes that idea of using Coleman as a spot starter next week. With Randy Wells designated for assignment before the game, the Cubs are going to need somebody else to start in Ryan Dempster’s spot one more time. They will have a need for a starter on Tuesday at Atlanta. If there were thoughts of using Coleman on that day, those ideas were likely dashed after he gave up seven runs in 1 2/3 innings in relief of Samardzija.
OFF BEAT: It was so bad for the Cubs on Wednesday that the Mets’ Daniel Murphy broke a 352 at-bat homerless drought, the longest in the major leagues this season. Murphy then went out and hit a home run in his very next at-bat. It seems hard to fathom, but it was almost worse in the unlikely-home-run department. The Mets’ Andres Torres hit one off the wall. He entered the game without a home run in 502 at-bats, in a run that started before this season.
UP NEXT: After an off day Thursday, the Cubs will open a three-game series at Wrigley Field with left-hander Paul Maholm (4-6, 5.38 ERA) taking on Astros right-hander Bud Norris (5-4, 4.81) in the 1:20 p.m. start Friday.
Rapid Reaction: The Mets jumped on Jeff Samardzija and the Cubs in a rout.