SF Giants Gameday Podcast: Why you’ll finally see Jeff Samardzija against the Padres

The Giants traveled to Los Angeles for a four-game series against the Dodgers and never sent the second-highest paid pitcher on their team to the mound.

Jeff Samardzija is in the final season of a five-year, $90 million contract, but first-year manager Gabe Kapler is waiting until Tuesday’s home opener at Oracle Park to have the right-hander make his season debut.

It was curious the Giants never had Samardzija pitch at Dodger Stadium and never gave an explanation for the decision, but it seems Kapler and president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi are intent on treating every game of the 2020 season like it’s the postseason.

And in the postseason, Samardzija wouldn’t face the Dodgers away from Oracle Park. A lineup loaded with left-handed sluggers including 2019 MVP Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy and Corey Seager spells trouble for Samardzija, so the Giants will instead have him pitch Tuesday against the Padres and likely again on Sunday against the Rangers.

Samardzija hasn’t been given an opportunity to comment about the team’s plans, but it’s safe to assume one of the game’s fiercest competitors probably isn’t the biggest fan of the Giants’ strategy. Traditional statistics would seem to back up an argument Samardzija should have received an opportunity, as he allowed six runs over 16 innings against Los Angeles last season and was fairly solid in all three outings against the Dodgers.

In this episode of the SF Giants Gameday podcast, we look at the upcoming homestand, a coronavirus outbreak in baseball and what the Giants can learn from their series against the Dodgers.

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Author: Kerry Crowley