Jeff Samardzija will be the San Francisco Giants hottest pitcher
This may seem like one of the bolder predictions on the surface, but it’s not impossible by any means.
The San Francisco Giants gave Jeff Samardzija a massive five-year, $90 million deal prior to the 2016 season, an aside from a passable first year with the team, that contract has largely been a disappointment.
So far, the 2019 season as a whole has been no exception. The 34-year-old has a 4.01 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 98.2 innings over 18 starts.
However, Samardzija has looked exceptionally good of late. In fact, his last two starts have been among the best by a Giants pitcher all season.
Take a look:
- July 1 @SD: W, 8.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
- July 7 vs. STL: W, 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 HB, 2K
While the low strikeout total gives some reason for pause, back-to-back quality starts against teams that are currently in wild-card contention shows a lot of promise.
With a 3.25 ERA in August and September during his time with the Giants, Samardzija has a history of turning it on at the end of the season, and these last two starts could be the start of him kicking things into gear for a late-season run.
Madison Bumgarner will most likely be playing elsewhere by Aug. 1, Johnny Cueto won’t return until September if he returns at all this year, and the team’s young arms have shown flashes but also been inconsistent.
When you take all of that into account, the idea of Samardzija being the team’s best starter in the second half starts to make sense. He will also be in an important role serving as the veteran leader in a young stable of starters.