Unlike other professional leagues, being voted into the Major League Baseball All-Star Game is both an honor and a responsibility. The game is played between the National and American Leagues. The winning league receives home field advantage for their team in the World Series. With something to gain from winning, the players actually take the game seriously.
Jeff Samardzija was voted into the game and will have only the honor, not the responsibility. Samardzija’s selection is based on his half-season as a pitcher for the Chicago Cubs of the National League. So, voting for the game gave Samardzija a spot on the NL’s roster.
However, before the lineups were created, Samardzija was traded to the Oakland Athletics of the American League. Due to his league change, the MLB deemed Samardzija unable to play for either league in the game. Instead, Samardzija will wear a general “National League” jersey and simply watch from the dugout.
Although unhappy with his All-Star Game situation, Samardzija can look forward to playing with the A’s. On the Cubs, Samardzija had an earned run average of 2.83 and 103 total strikeouts. However, Samardzija suffered at the hands of the Cubs’ offense. He had two wins and seven losses in 17 starts. The Cubs are currently in last place in the NL Central.
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Samardzija has played his entire career with the Cubs. During his first season with the team in 2008, the Cubs finished with the best record in the National League. Now in Oakland, Samardzija can get back to playing on a winning franchise.
Samardzija earned a win in his first start for the A’s against the Toronto Blue Jays. He gave up only one run and four hits in seven innings pitched. Oakland went on to win 4-2.
The A’s have the best record in baseball. They also have a total of six players on the roster for the AL, including third baseman Josh Donaldson and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Unofficially, Samardzija makes Oakland’s total seven players.
When you look at their team stats, the A’s make you scratch your head. Coco Crisp leads the team with a batting average of .291. What’s impressive is that the A’s lead the league in scoring with almost five runs per game The A’s pair their offense with dominant pitching as well. Oakland has an ERA of 3.15, the second best in the MLB.
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The addition of Samardzija as well as Cubs teammate Jason Hammel makes Oakland very dangerous. Although Samardzija cannot play in the All-Star Game, he will be happy with the likelihood of pitching in the postseason once again.