Dallas Beeler and Jeff Samardzija can’t prevent sweep
By Brian Sandalow and Toni Ginnetti For Sun-Times Media June 28, 2014 11:09PM
Updated: July 30, 2014 7:04AM
Dallas Beeler knew before his major-league debut that he only was booked for a one-game stay with the Cubs. Nobody knows how long Jeff Samardzija has left on the North Side.
Both pitched Saturday, and both lost, but Beeler had the better numbers. And it’s also possible he’s the one with the long-term future with the team.
The Cubs liked what they saw from Beeler, 25, in spring training and what he has done since. And he only enhanced the positives with his six innings in the Cubs’ 3-0 loss to the Washington Nationals in the first game of the doubleheader. Samardzija was the loser as the Cubs fell 7-2 in the nightcap.
“[Beeler] is reminiscent of Roy Halladay,” said John Baker, who worked with Beeler in spring training before catching him Saturday. “He doesn’t throw anything straight, and when you throw low, you have a chance to get ground balls. It’s how his ball moves that’s impressive. The Nationals were having trouble deciphering which one [cutter or sinker] was which. It’s a nice flash of what the future will be here.’’
At least that’s the hope as the trade deadline approaches. The Cubs are expected to deal Samardzija and Jason Hammel.
“He has multiple weapons and is particularly tough on right-handed hitters,” team president Theo Epstein said of Beeler, who gave up one unearned run and four hits. “He started the year hurt, came back, and he has been able to repeat his delivery and keep the ball down in the strike zone.”
As good as Beeler was, the team’s long-term pitching picture isn’t clear. Beeler isn’t even the best pitcher at Class AAA Iowa. That would be Kyle Hendricks, who was the organization’s minor-league pitcher of the year in 2013 after winning 13 games and leading the Southern League with a 1.85 ERA at Class AA Tennessee.
Hendricks, 24, who was acquired in the 2012 trade of Ryan Dempster to the Texas Rangers, isn’t on the 40-man roster. The Cubs have no need to expose him yet, another reason why Beeler was brought up instead.
Most of the team’s better pitching prospects are at Class A Kane County, and top pitching prospect C.J. Edwards has been on the disabled list at Tennessee since April with shoulder inflammation.
For one day, though, the spotlight was on Beeler, who induced seven ground balls with a bread-and-butter sinker and struck out six.
“You’re always trying to make an impression,” said Beeler, who even singled in his first at-bat. “I just tried to make my pitches.”
Samardzija, meanwhile, didn’t do that as well as he usually does.
He struggled through five innings, allowing five earned runs, and couldn’t prevent a sweep of the twin bill. The Cubs settled for a split of the four-game series.
Samardzija gave up a home run in the second inning to Adam LaRoche and a sacrifice fly in the third to Anthony Rendon. Luis Valbuena then tied the game in the fourth with a two-run homer off Blake Treinen, but two batters later, the rain came, starting a 55-minute delay.
Samardzija had to wait more than an hour between pitches, and it showed. Wilson Ramos sent Samardzija’s first pitch after the delay into the left-center-field bleachers, giving the Nats a 3-2 lead. Kevin Frandsen and Jayson Werth added RBI singles before Anthony Rizzo missed LaRoche’s grounder, allowing Frandsen to score the Nats’ fourth run of the inning.
“Coming out of the rain delay,’’ Samardzija said, ‘‘they jumped on me right off the bat, and then they hit some fastballs over the plate and hit them up the middle.”