The lack of wins for Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija has reached historic levels.
Time and time again this season, Samardzija has given the Cubs an opportunity to win. All in all, Chicago has one win to show for it (1-9) and the right-hander has nothing. He'll go for his first victory Monday against San Francisco.
Samardzija enters the start 0-4 this season with six no-decisions despite posting the Majors' best ERA (1.46) while allowing two earned runs or fewer in nine of his 10 starts. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Samardzija's 1.46 ERA is the lowest ERA without a win through the first 10 starts of a season by any pitcher in Major League history.
"He's the best pitcher in the league right now -- American League, National League, Japanese league," Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney said. "The wins will come. It's one of those funny things -- some days you come out and put up five runs in the first two innings, and it hasn't happened for him yet.
"We're trying hard. Maybe we're trying too hard for him."
They'll try again against the best team in baseball, which completed a sweep of Minnesota on Sunday. The Giants (32-18) will hand the ball to Yusmeiro Petit, who will make a spot-start, his fourth of the season, in place of the injured Matt Cain.
Cain was scratched from the start after exiting his May 21 outing after only three innings with a strained right hamstring. Petit made his last start in place of the injured Tim Hudson. He's 3-1 this season with a 4.76 ERA in 13 appearances (three starts).
"It's part of my job," Petit said. "Emergency starting is difficult. But I've done it a lot, so it makes it easier."
"That's really big. He's a big help. He's able to save us," Cain said. "For him to be able to go five or six innings, that's an asset that some teams don't have."
In three starts this season, Petit has a 7.04 ERA, but he has given San Francisco 15 1/3 innings in emergency situations. In six career appearances against the Cubs (five starts), he has a 5.23 ERA (12 earned run in, 20 2/3 innings).
The Cubs hope to put an end to the winless talk as Samardzija looks for his first win since Aug. 24 last season, a span of 16 starts.
"Modern technology, every game gets seen and watched," Samardzija said of the constant talk. "I don't think it's any secret with what I'm doing. I can get better, and I'm doing some things out there that are good and we look to keep building on that."
Cubs: Lake playing his way into lineup
Cubs outfielder Junior Lake has impressed manager Rick Renteria, and it could land him more time in Chicago's lineup, even when outfielder Justin Ruggiano comes off the disabled list.
Lake has gone 16-for-47 (.340) in his last 12 games, which has included 11 starts. With a solo home run Sunday, the 24-year-old from the Dominican Republic has three homers and 10 RBIs during that span.
Giants: Cain feeling better, not quite ready
Cain won't make his scheduled start Monday against the Cubs, but the Giants currently have no intentions of placing the right-hander on the disabled list.
After Cain left his last start May 21 against Colorado following three innings because of a strained right hamstring, he threw a bullpen session Saturday and determined he wasn't ready to return to the rotation.
"I wasn't able to throw it the way that I wanted to," Cain said. "So it wasn't worth pushing it to keep it going. It's not [bad] and every day has felt better. You just want to be able to throw the way you want to."
• With an 8-1 win against Minnesota on Sunday, the Giants completed their third series sweep of the season. They are now a season-high 14 games above .500 and have the best winning percentage (.640) in baseball.
• Losing, 4-3, to San Diego on Sunday, the Cubs settled for a series split. Chicago still hasn't won a series this season and is 0-9-3 in its last 12 road series.
• Giants outfielder Hunter Pence has found the most success on the San Francisco roster against Samardzija. He's gone 3-for-8 (.375) with two walks against the right-hander.
Alex Halsted is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.