If the San Francisco Giants are going to make a playoff push, Jeff Samardzija will need to continue pitching at a high level in the No. 2 starter role.
The San Francisco Giants are fresh off a 7-0 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday and they have now gone 5-2 in their past seven games.
That leaves them facing a 3.5-game deficit in the NL wild-card standings, and has optimistic Giants fans day-dreaming of a postseason trip.
If this team is serious about not only making the postseason but making some noise in October, someone will need to emerge as a reliable second option in the starting rotation behind ace Madison Bumgarner.
It’s obvious Bumgarner would be the starter in a Wild Card Game scenario. He’s drawn that assignment twice in the past and tossed a complete game shutout both times.
While no team will want to face Bumgarner in the postseason, the rest of the San Francisco Giants rotation will have opposing teams licking their chops. If the Giants are going to make a deep playoff run in manager Bruce Bochy’s final season, they’ll need others to step up in the starting rotation.
One starter who appears to have answered the bell is veteran Jeff Samardzija.
The 34-year-old right-hander has been lights out of late, going 5-2 with a 1.95 ERA and 0.81 WHIP in his last eight starts, six of which have been quality starts.
Last time out against the Philadelphia Phillies he tossed an absolute gem, allowing just two hits and one run while striking out five in eight innings of work.
With that recent run of success, Samardzija now has a 3.55 ERA on the year, good for 13th in the National League among qualified starters.
His next start will come on Friday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks, a team that has not been kind to him during his career. In 19 appearances against the D-backs, he owns a 4.35 ERA, and in two starts against them this year he has a 6.35 ERA.
This seems to be a different version of Samardzija than the one who faced them back on May 17 and June 21, though. After struggling with injuries last season, he’s stayed healthy this year and now appears to be hitting his stride at the perfect time.
The San Francisco Giants face an uphill climb in order to reach the postseason, but if Jeff Samardzija continues to spin it the way he has since the beginning of July, their odds are a little better.