Samardzija has been somewhat of a disappointment for the $90 million that the Giants gave him before the 2016 season. He had a rough month of April where he went 0-4 in five starts with a 6.35 ERA.
This month, the 32-year-old right-hander has been much better. In his last five starts, Samardzija is 1-2 with a 2.95 ERA. He has pitched into the seventh inning or later in every game and has shown great control of pitches.
One of the things Samardzija has done well this month is that he has picked up strikeouts in bunches. His 44 K’s are tied with Zack Greinke for second in the National League and five behind Max Scherzer for the team lead. In addition to those 44 K’s, he has only walked one batter.
When Samardzija needs a strikeout, he is going to go to his slider. This year, teams are hitting .173 against that pitch with one extra-base hit and 34 strikeouts according to Brooks Baseball.
In his career against the Nats, Samardzija is 2-5 with a 3.83 ERA in 14 appearances (seven starts). Last year, the Nats offense roughed him up as he gave up nine runs over the course of 13 innings. Jayson Werth and Daniel Murphy each have seven hits with a home run against him in their respective careers.
Tomorrow night, Samardzija will go up against Gio Gonzalez, who has been the exact opposite of Samardzija in terms of walks. Gonzalez has three or more walks in eight straight games and his 21 walks this month are more than any pitcher in the NL.