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Cubs Vs. Nationals Preview: Jeff Samardzija Starts Against Jordan Zimmermann

The Chicago Cubs (0-2) are still looking for their first win of the 2012 MLB Season. On Easter Sunday, the team sends Notre Dame graduate SP Jeff Samardzija to the mound to face SP Jordan Zimmermann and the Washington Nationals (2-0).

The 27-year-old Samardzija enters the season as a fixture of the starting rotation for the first time in his five-year career. In 2011, the righty pitched 88.0 innings in relief and mustered an impressive 2.97 ERA and 3.66 FIP.

The Cubs drafted him in the 2006 amateur draft and, in order to lure him away from a career as an NFL wide receiver, the team had to offer him a substantial signing bonus and a major league contract. Since then, the 5th round draft pick has generally been considered a disappointment, having only recently earned a rotation spot.

Facing Samardzija will be Jordan Zimmermann, a 26-year-old righty coming off an impressive 2011 campaign where he pitched 161.1 innings with a 3.18 ERA and 3.16 FIP. The 6'2" righty has a devastating slider and throws it about one out of every four pitches, according to FanGraphs.com.

Game Time: 1:20 p.m. CDT

Location: Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL

Broadcast: WGN-HD (television), 720 WGN (radio)

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