The Cubs' leader in strikeouts had given up 10 home runs in his previous 18 starts combined in 2013. He surrendered four home runs in 4⅔ innings of work against the Angels on Wednesday evening.
The 4⅔ innings pitched Wednesday by Jeff Samardzija represented his shortest outing of 2013, and the nine earned runs tied his career high.
The 28-year-old power pitcher has had his share of problems lately. In his past two starts, he has allowed 14 runs in 10⅔ innings.
“Right now I have to go back to do what works for [me],” said Samardzija (5-9).
“For me it is my fastball and sinker down in the zone. You also have to see what they are hitting. If they are jumping all over the fastball and they are taking sliders and off-speed pitches, you need to change your sequences.”
The Angels were mashing 96 mph flat fastballs from the northwest Indiana native.
“For him, and I am sure he will tell you this, when he flies open [with the pitching motion], the ball gets flat and he gets hit,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
At different points of a 162-game season, pitchers often see their pitches flatten out. That is sometimes referred to as the dead-arm syndrome among pitching coaches. Samardzija will have nine days to get it right between starts before facing the Colorado Rockies on July 19 in Denver.
“I will take all of these days and go back to the drawing board,” Samardzija said. “This kind of happened to me last year heading up to the break. I came out in the second half of the season with my pants on fire.”
He recorded a 2.55 ERA in his last 13 starts of 2012.
The 4⅔ innings represented Samardzija’s shortest outing of 2013. The four home runs were the most he has allowed in one major league appearance. The nine earned runs tied his career high as well.
“I will get some good work in and come out with guns blazing in Colorado,” he said.