The San Francisco Giants let one get away against a struggling Rockies lineup on Thursday, and Jeff Samardzija was part of the reason why. He gave up a 3-run rally to the bottom part of the Rockies lineup. The Giants came back to tie it, but lost in extra innings. Samardzija is struggling to find his way right now.
During Spring Training, Samardzija’s fastball velocity was coming in a few ticks below normal. However, he has regained most of his normal velocity back. At 94 MPH, he has enough on his fastball to be effective.
However, the control is just not there right now. Through his career, Samardzija has walked 2.7 batters per 9 innings. This season, he is walking 5.4 batters per nine innings. This is uncharacteristically bad control. Samardzija says he is fine, so an injury does not seem to be the culprit.
The pectoral injury cut his Spring Training short. As a result, the starts he has had since returning from the disabled list are an accelerated form of Spring Training. He has had 6 starts so far this season, and the results have been mixed.
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The results are mixed partly because he has had stretches in recent games where he has looked like his normal self. The problem with this is that before these stretches, he is prone to giving up a big inning.
Samardzija struggled against the Rockies. It looks like part of the issue is mechanical. During his wind-up, he is rotating his back to the hitter before he releases the ball. This was a delivery he used in 2016, but got rid of in 2017.
The problem with his back-and-forth rotation is that it is not consistent from pitch to pitch. Some pitches, he accentuates the turn. With other pitches, it is more subtle. This could be disrupting his balance as he throws the ball. Without balance, it is difficult to repeat a delivery. And, it is tough to have good command.
This is merely my observation from watching him throw. I am no pitching guru like Curt Young, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn last night.
Ultimately, he did not have it against the Rockies. He walked 3, and struck out 3. However, he did manage to complete nearly 7 innings. Eating up innings has been his calling card for several years now. This holds value, if the innings he completes are quality innings.
His walks are high, and his strike outs are low. These are not encouraging signs. He has proven throughout his career that his 2018 numbers are an outlier. He has shown stretches of regaining form, only to lose it in the next start. However, he is a competitor. He has proven he can pitch effectively in the past. Regardless, the Giants need more from him now.