Chicago Cubs’ starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija was strong in his Cactus League debut on Sunday. The Cubs hosted the San Francisco Giants on Sunday and the team won it’s second consecutive with a 4-3 victory over the Giants.
What Went Right: Samardzija began his efforts to be the named the Cubs’ opening day starting pitcher with his Cactus League debut on Sunday. Samardzija tossed two innings while allowing one run on three hits while striking out two. Kyuji Fujikawa made his Cubs’ debut on Sunday as the Japanese reliever struck out two in his only inning of work. Cubs’ catcher Dioner Navarro carried the team offensively with the three-run home run that he hit in the first inning of the game off Giants’ pitcher Matt Cain. Alfonso Soriano had an impressive day as well going two for two.
What Went Wrong: Carlos Marmol was not particularly effective against the Giants on Sunday. Marmol allowed one run on one hit while walking one and striking out one in his only inning of work. In other words, it was a typical performance for Marmol. With Fujikawa, a prominent closer in Japan, now in the Cubs’ bullpen; Marmol’s position as the team’s closer may not be as secure as it once was.
- Navarro may be an overlooked addition to the Cubs’ roster this season. The 2008 All-Star catcher brings veteran experience and wisdom to the Cubs’ catching position. While Welington Castillo will serve as the Cubs’ starting catcher, Navarro will serve as a mentor to the Cubs’ young catcher. Having worked with Matt Garza with the Tampa Bay Rays, Navarro may serve as Garza’s personal catcher.
- There is no timetable for when Garza will resume baseball activities. The Cubs are still hopeful that Garza can avoid the disabled list, however, it would seem all but certain that Garza will not be the team’s opening day starting pitcher. Expect that distinction to be given to Samardzija.