By Bruce Levine-
CHICAGO (CBS) — Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija saw his luckless streak continue to seven games on Monday evening.
Locked up in a great pitching duel with White Sox starter Jose Quintana, Samardzija allowed just a single run in nine innings, but he came away with another no-decision. The Cubs ace allowed three hits and two walks while throwing a season-high 126 pitches and lowering his ERA to 1.62.
The Cubs managed only four hits off of Quintana and five relievers.
“We tried,” Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro said. “We really tried to do something, especially with that kind of game he had. We tried (hard), but it didn’t happen.”
Frustration with his 0-3 record and the lack of a long-term contract might be peaking for Samardzija. Contract talks between the Cubs and the pitcher’s agents stalled at the end of 2013. A difference of opinion exists over the pitcher being a No. 1 or No. 3 starter going forward. As much as $20 million over five years might divide the two sides from reaching an agreement.
The Toronto Blue Jays have continued to pursue Samardzija in a deal that would bring back an inventory of young pitchers for the Cubs, if a contract is not agreed upon soon. Toronto had top scout Jim Beattie at Monday’s game. The Cubs have had scouts watching Blue Jay minor league pitchers since the beginning of spring training.
After throwing the most pitches of his career, Samardzija showed the same warrior mentality he has displayed since becoming a starter again in 2012.
“Any time you lose a game, it is frustrating,” he said. “We come out to win games every day, regardless of who is on the mound. You try to learn what you can from the previous game, make the adjustments, and come out tomorrow.”
Numerous teams have had serious talks with the Cubs about Samardzija. Arizona had serious discussions with Chicago at the winter meetings last December. Arizona balked at the package of pitchers that was asked for at that time. Samardzija is under contract control until November of 2015.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.