Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija has put up Cy Young numbers nearly a third of the way through the season. In 10 starts, he has a 1.46 ERA and 1.09 WHIP and is on pace to log nearly 250 innings. On the other hand, Samardzija is still winless at 0-4.
But the 7-year Cubs veteran says he is completely fine with not winning a single game all year.
“Pitcher wins mean almost nothing,” he said. “Like the RBI or valuing batting average over on-base percentage, I know that pitcher wins are a relic of old-time baseball. And I say that to myself before and after every pitch I throw. Pitcher wins mean nothing. Pitcher wins mean nothing. Pitcher wins mean nothing.”
Cubs general manager Theo Epstein, one of the pioneers of advanced statistics in baseball, has also made a point to remind Samardzija of the irrelevancy of pitcher wins.
“I leave notes in his locker,” said Epstein. “I also text him a lot about it. Any way I can help the guys understand their role and the sport of baseball better, I’m happy to do that. I don’t want him to get too upset about wins and losses. Or, well, no wins and all losses in his case. Basically, I’m afraid he could snap at any moment and kill everyone on the team.”
Samardzija is scheduled to pitch against the San Francisco Giants next and says he hopes to have a shot at a win if “I pitch a 17-inning perfect game.”
The performance of the former Notre Dame wide receiver star is one of the few bright spots so far this season for the last-place Cubs, but Epstein believes good things are on the way.
“I just need to convince the rest of baseball that team losses are an outdated way to measure performance,” he said. “If I can do that, we’ll have a dynasty here.”
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