Samardzija got a nice taste of what it will be like to be a member of the Athletics compared to being with the Chicago Cubs on a few fronts.
One is that the Athletics scored for him. Yes, it was only four runs, but the Cubs had scored more than two runs once in his last four starts and had tallied only 41 runs in his 17 starts this season.
Another was on the defensive side, where the Athletics turned nine of the 11 ground balls against him into outs.
In Samardzija’s previous four starts, opponents were 14 for 38 (.368 BA) when hitting a ground ball against him. The Athletics have the highest out rate on ground balls and bunts of any MLB team (77 percent). The Cubs rank 13th (74 percent).
It helped that Samardzija had his splitter working for him on Sunday. He threw 23 splitters, resulting in nine outs (four of which were strikeouts).
Samardzija also got backed up by an Athletics bullpen that ranks fourth in the major leagues with a 2.95 ERA. The Cubs bullpen ranks 12th (3.43).
Samardzija was selected as an NL All-Star but will not participate in the game due to this weekend's trade. He now ranks 15th in the majors with a 2.74 ERA this season, but is the only pitcher in the top 15 with a losing record (3-7). That could change soon if Sunday's start is any indication.