Jeff Samardzija is Inigo MontoyaThe leaves changing in the fall is always a beautiful sight. One of my favorite annual natural phenomena, actually.

But I really freaking hate raking.

  • Over his last three starts, Jeff Samardzija has given up 17 earned runs in 18.1 innings. That includes 5 homers (though he’s struck out 20). Is he wearing down? Well, outside of it being September and it being three straight starts, I’d caution putting too much of anything in the way of a conclusion into such a small sample. That said, Samardzija’s manager thinks it could be an issue. “He probably won’t admit it,” Sveum said, per Cubs.com. “But I’d go out on a limb and say there’s a combination of [being physically worn down] and getting a little mentally wore out right now, too.” Samardzija did indeed deny it. Given the performances, though, you almost hope he *is* wearing down, so that at least there’s an excuse for his struggles.
  • Setting aside the “wearing down” thing, I’m more likely to point out that Samardzija’s ERA is actually quite bad dating all the way back to the beginning of June. In his last 19 starts – 122 innings – Samardzija’s ERA is 5.39. The advanced metrics say he’s been much better than that, obviously, but it makes you a little nervous. It also could make it much harder for the Cubs and Samardzija to come together on a reasonable extension this offseason.


  • Something I really don’t care to see? Samardzija has topped 100 pitches in all but five of his starts this year, and two of those five were 99 pitches. He’s gone over 110 pitches 14 times. So, yeah, maybe he is wearing down. (By contrast, Clayton Kershaw – who has thrown 20 more innings than Samardzija in the same number of starts – has gone over the 110 mark just seven times this year. Kershaw is a freak, though, so I offer that information only to demonstrate the theoretical possibilities.)
  • In his comments to the media earlier this week, Jed Hoyer (per ESPNChicago) noted that both Albert Almora (groin) and Jorge Soler (leg) are on track to play healthily in the Arizona Fall League.
  • The Cubs have created a model of what Wrigley Field and the surrounding area will look like once the renovation is complete. I have only one question: Where can I buy one?


  • Don’t forget, there’s a special offer on BN shirts/apparel right now: buy any two items, get free shipping. Just use coupon code “FALL2013.”

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