Sep 10, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija (29) during the fourth inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
The Oakland Athletics were dealt yet another heartbreaking loss on Wednesday night. For fans of the green and gold, this scene has become an all too familiar site, but it was starter Jeff Samardzija and closer Sean Doolittle that spoke in hopeful terms post-game.
Here is a little of what they said following the loss.
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When asked how hard it is to keep smiling with the team’s recent woes, Samardzija responded, “You have to take the positive out of it, you know? You’ve gotta look at where we’re at as a team. If you take a step back and look at is as a whole, we’re still where we need to be. Just keep looking at it positively, and keep coming out and playing. That’s what this team does. We’re a bunch of fighters.”
He continued, “If you ask anyone in this locker room, they’re excited to get here tomorrow and start that game.”
Samardzija was then asked about his frustration level after tossing five shutouts and having no wins to show for it. He was the ultimate professional with his response, “When you go out there and do your job, it feels good. It’s not like you look at it like five, six, seven times this happened. As a baseball player you look at every individual day, and that’s that.”
He continued, “You go out that day and try to do the best you can, and if it works out, great. If it doesn’t, the make-up of a baseball player is to come out the next day and do the same thing. There’s no time to pout. There’s no time to feel sorry for yourself. That’s just the way it goes. There’s been plenty of times I’ve gone out and given up multiple runs and gotten wins out of it. It goes both ways.”
After the Jeff Samardzija interview, just two lockers down was Sean Doolittle, who gave up five runs in just 1/3 of an inning on Wednesday night. Doolittle was taking the outing rough, but stayed positive for reporters.
Doolittle started the interview reflecting on the game, “You look at the job Samardzija did all night long, he was out there getting it done. Our defense was air-tight. Sam Fuld got it done, getting a big hit for us, putting us ahead. That’s all you can ask for coming into that ninth inning with a lead at home. I just didn’t get it done. Samardzija got it done tonight. The defense got it done all night. Fuld got it done. I didn’t get it done.”
Doolittle quickly turned towards the future, “It doesn’t do me any good, doesn’t do the team any good to sit here and mope, and sulk, and feel sorry for yourself. We’ve got a quick turnaround with the day game tomorrow. I’ve got to be ready to go.”
He then started talking about Wednesday’s rough loss being a turning point, “That’s the kind of game for me, and maybe even the team, it’s going to be a turning point one way or another. After the season is over, are we going to look back and point at tonight and say this is the game where the wheels came off for good? Or are we going to be able to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and talk about how resilient we are as a team, and how we were able to overcome a game like this and still get it done?”
He concluded by saying, “We have to get them tomorrow, and we have to come ready to play.”
At this point, Jeff Samardzija will either be a key cog down the stretch for the Athletics, or a key trade chip to be played when the time is right. It all depends on how the A’s finish up their final eleven games. As Sean Doolittle said, this could be a turning point, one way or another. The next eleven could determine not just the Athletics’ fate, but the fate of Samardzija and the team moving forward.