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Wednesday, May 21st (All times Eastern)
New York Yankees (23-21) at Chicago Cubs (16-27), 2:20 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: New York - Chase Whitley (0-0, 0.00) Chicago - Jeff Samardzija (0-4, 1.62)
(SportsNetwork.com) - Chicago right-hander Jeff Samardzija could be auditioning for the New York Yankees on Wednesday when he takes the hill trying to lead his Cubs to a two-game sweep of them at Wrigley Field.
Samardzija, the subject of numerous trade rumors over the winter, has recently been linked to the Yankees, who currently have three-fifths of their Opening Day rotation on the disabled list.
And Samardzija has been brilliant, as he leads the majors with a 1.62 ERA, despite an 0-4 mark. In fact, he hasn't won since Aug. 24 of last season, a span of 15 starts.
Samardzija, though, was not particularly sharp on Friday against Milwaukee, as he allowed four runs (2 earned) and six hits in five innings. He also struck out six and walked three. He has given up more than two earned runs just once this season, when he yielded three in a loss to Cincinnati.
"Obviously I want to win," said Samardzija, who is receiving just 2.21 runs of support per game. "Being a starting pitcher, you have a big say as to how the game turns out. Obviously if my record isn't what I want it to be I need to do a better job."
Chicago handed Masahiro Tanaka his first major league loss on Tuesday, as the Cubs reached him for four runs (3 earned) on eight hits to claim a 6-1 triumph, sending the former Japanese superstar to his first regular-season setback since Aug. 19, 2012.
Dating back to his time in Nippon Professional Baseball, Tanaka had gone unbeaten in 42 straight regular-season starts, posting a 34-0 mark, which included a perfect 6-0 record since signing a seven-year, $155 million deal with the Yankees in the offseason.
However, Tanaka (6-1) failed to keep the streak going, as he struggled through the elements at a rain-soaked Wrigley Field while receiving just one run of support thanks to a solid start from counterpart Jason Hammel.
"It was pretty wet out there at times," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of the weather conditions. "I don't know if that had anything to do with it. He still didn't pitch that bad. He was just slipping a little bit."
Hammel (5-2) held the Yankees to one run on four hits with six strikeouts over 5 2/3 frames to pick up the win, while Mike Olt recorded three RBI for the Cubs, who have won three straight on the heels of a three-game slide.
"From the beginning we just haven't been able to pull out the one-run games," said Hammel. "That's the bottom line. The win-loss record can be a bit deceiving at times. Tonight, a great game against a great team. ... It was a great overall win."
Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter combined for four of New York's six hits, while Mark Teixeira drove in the lone run for the Yankees, who have lost two straight games.
Now the depleted Yankees rotation hands the ball to righty Chase Whitley, who pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings in his big league debut on Thursday against the Mets. Whitley scattered two hits in that one and also struck out four batters.
"Everyone has to contribute. If we're going to get where we want to be, everyone has to contribute," Girardi added. "You can't expect one guy (Tanaka) to take you to that spot."
New York swept a doubleheader against the Cubs in the Bronx on April 16. Chicago failed to score a run in the two-game set.
05/21 10:22:21 ET
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