WASHINGTON -- One day after Jeff Samardzija tossed another strong seven-inning outing, Cubs manager Dale Sveum addressed the right-hander's prospects for finishing out the season on Monday.
Against the Nationals, who boast one of the hottest-hitting lineups in baseball, Samardzija allowed only one run on seven hits while striking out eight and walking one. The start boosted his innings total to 165 2/3, approaching the 180 mark that was initially said to be a limit of sorts for Samardzija's first full season as a starter.
"Well, we have to sit down with the whole organization and evaluate that decision and see where we want to be," Sveum said. "That would obviously be a lot more innings than he's ever pitched [in the big leagues]. But the strength level is obviously there right now, so it's something that we really got to evaluate."
Of course, Samardzija made his latest strong start -- he finished August with a 3.52 ERA over six outings -- in the shadow of Stephen Strasburg's own shutdown, which the Nats announced on Sunday will come after his start on Sept. 12.
After Tuesday's start, Samardzija said he's feeling stronger as the season extends into the final month for the Cubs.
"You put your work in in the offseason to be in this situation," Samardzija said. "You work so hard to get a lot of innings under your belt and pitch late in the season and be healthy.
"I know I'm a second-half player."
The Cubs are currently in the midst of a 10-day, 10-game road trip and won't return to Chicago until Sept. 13. Then, Sveum said, he might evaluate Samardzija's outlook for the rest of the season with president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer.
As for the Nationals' situation with Strasburg, Sveum recognized the difficulty of making such a tough decision.
"They're making one of the tougher decisions in baseball, to shut down probably the best pitcher in baseball when they have the chance of competing for the World Series," Sveum said. "One of the priorities when you're out of it for such a long period of time, you know that there's some people that are very important to this organization going forward, and you're not going to put anybody in harm's way, either. It doesn't make any sense [to do that]."