CHICAGO -- It took Jeff Samardzija about 1 1/2 months of the 2015 season to find his true form for the White Sox. But as his 2-0 shutout of the Blue Jays on Thursday at U.S. Cellular Field proves, the right-hander is in a good groove.
"Early in the year, you press a lot," Samardzija said. "You've got a lot to prove in a place you watched for so long, you've talked about it for so long.
"You just get excited, so sometimes you've got to pull back and go back to what works for you. For me, it's pounding the zone with my sinker, slider for strikes and the splitter down in the zone."
That combination has produced eight quality starts over Samardzija's last 11 trips to the mound. He has worked at least seven innings in seven straight starts and 10 of his last 11.
Samardzija had a no-hitter through 5 1/3 innings Thursday, following his 5 2/3 innings of no-hit baseball thrown against the Orioles on Saturday. He began Thursday by striking out the side in the first inning.
"All I thought about was in college the last time I remember doing it, and that was a pretty rough one against Louisville," said a smiling Samardzija. "I just wanted to make sure I stayed in the zone, and they took a different approach after that first inning and started attacking early and got some early outs, and the defense kept the ball rolling, one out, two out, and kept me in a good rhythm."
Even with the White Sox recent resurgence, Samardzija could end up as an important trade piece to help the reshaping process in the present and the future. Manager Robin Ventura knows that if that time actually comes with the free-agent-to-be after the season, it would be a significant loss for his team.
"We're going to play this out for the rest of the thing," Ventura said. "You know he's a good pitcher. Everybody knows that. For us to lose a frontline pitcher, it would be tough, absolutely."