jeff samardzija gatorade showerRemoving any last bit of anticipation about the decision, Chicago Cubs manager Rick Renteria today announced that Jeff Samardzija would start on Opening Day for the Cubs in Pittsburgh on March 31. Travis Wood will follow.

No real surprise here, despite Wood’s arguably superior 2013 season. The “Opening Day” label is just that, and, for now, Samardzija is the guy on the Cubs. He did it last year, he’s still here, so he’ll do it again. That’s just kinda how it is. Fine by me.

  • Eternal Pessimist

    May as well. Holding him in the opening day starter is good marketing. How else do uou sell him as a #1 level pitcher.

    • Cubs-Win

      But having him as the #1 could also swell his head. On 2/3’s of the other teams in the majors he is a 3rd or 4th starter. I’m not saying that I want to trade him. I just think that Wood is a superior pitcher and should have been given the opening day start. Let’s hope that they both pitch like aces and that the bats are hot for the first half.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        The correct answer is 1/6th, not 2/3rds. Shark has been a starter for 2 seasons. Over those two season, 18 guys have posted better xFIP. If we do an AL adjustment for DH’s, then we can make that 22 guys. The Tigers have 3, the Dodgers, M’s, Nats and Phils have 2, and the Braves, Cards, Giants, Marlins, Rangers, Rays, Sox, Royals, ChiSox & Yanks have 1.

        So, put another way, there are 13 teams on which Shark would have posted the best raw numbers over the last 2 years, 10 on which he would have posted the 2nd best, 4 on which he would have posted the 3rd best, and only one on which he would have been the 4th. So, five teams in 30 have two guys who have pitched better the last two years than Shark, not 20 teams in 30.

        Shark has been a much better pitcher than many fans here credit him with having been.

        • Eternal Pessimist

          We talked about “clustering” effect in the past, and it just seemed to the untrained eye that he would allow “clusters” of hits/walks to allow more runs then his raw numbers might suggest. If true, this may be a mental thing that he might/might not overcome…or maybe he was a victim of keeping him in too long because the bullpen sucked the big one last year…or maybe it is Karma and he just needs to donate to a charity or something.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            The question needs to be two-fold. One, how much clustering is typical, and, two, does Shark show more clustering than normal? Remember, the relationship between xFIP & RA assumes average clustering rather than no clustering. Moreover, the fact that batting averages are typically slightly higher with men on base than otherwise already corroborates the idea that all pitchers show some clustering.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            OK, here is another way to look at it. Over the last two years, Shark’s xFIP with men in scoring position (a clustering issue) is 3.50. That is 0.08 higher than his xFIP otherwise. Among the top 30 pitchers of the last two years, the median difference is an *increase* of about 0.19. Only 4 of them showed better xFIP with RiSP than they did otherwise (the clustering effect!). Only 8 of them did a better job of “not choking” than Shark did.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Sorry, screwed up the sort: the median increase in xFIP is 0.25, not 0.19. So, Shark is about 0.18 “clutchier” than typical, at least by this measure. (I doubt it means very much.)

              • Eternal Pessimist

                Thanks. That more or less answers that question.

  • Spoda17

    … he may be the Braves opening day pitcher if Botchie is lost as it is being reported.

    • C. Steadman


      • mjhurdle

        David O’Brien @ajcbraves
        #Braves Beachy now faces possibility of needing a 2nd Tommy John surgery, too. Will find out more Monday.

        • Eternal Pessimist

          Theo seen walking the streets of Atlanta pushing a shopping cart…

          • Jon

            Braves don’t have the pieces to land Shark. Lucas Sims isn’t enough.

            • MightyBear

              Lucas Sims and Jason Heyward

              • Jon

                I’d trade Shark for Heyward straight up, so hell yeah, but for the Braves, isn’t that robbing peter to pay paul?

              • C. Steadman

                That tips the scale in favor of the Cubs. As a Cubs fan I love it, but that probably means Cubs need to add more.

                • Jr 25

                  Shark and Soler for Sims,Heyward and Wood

  • mjhurdle

    The Braves must have done something horrible to offend the Baseball Gods.

    • jh03

      But McCann left….

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Maybe they are moving alphabetically through the teams, having wreaked havoc on the Blue Jays last year!

      Let’s see, Brewers, Cards…. any chance we can rename the Cubs the Bastards or Baluchitheres in the next two years?

      • MightyBear

        The Bastards? Really? Stick to crunching numbers big guy.

        • C. Steadman

          Hey, they were already named the Orphans. Might as well make the rounds of delinquent children names. Maybe make it more kid friendly…Chicago “John Snows”?

        • DocPeterWimsey

          I’m open to anything starting with Blua- and below. (I don’t think that the poor Jays should have to go through it twice!)

  • willis

    This is what was expected so glad it’s done. I like Wood in the second spot, he’s earned it after last year’s season.

    Hopefully it’s a repeat performance of last year’s opening day. He was awesome.

  • Javier Bryant

    Who starts opening day at Wrigley, Hammel?

  • ClevelandCubsFan

    Trying to justify one of those PITT games to start the year off…

  • Diehardthefirst

    Opening day to maintain max trade value? But gives Shark negotiating leverage too? Confucius said “if something appears not to be logical it is only because it isn’t “

    • bbmoney

      I know most FOs this side of Kevin Towers put a lot of weight into who’s named the opening day starter.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Yanks report CC not pitching well- Rev up the Shark rumors

    • DarthHater

      A shark was sighted earlier today in the waters of Lake Michigan near North Avenue Beach…

      • http://www.draftday.com udbrky

        Yeah, I shouldn’t have gone swimming in that hoodie over lunch, but it was such a nice day.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Donuts to $ he starts for an AL team opening day

    • Patrick W.

      Even your wagers have holes in them.

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