Jeff Samardzija can only hope his performance Monday matches his last opening game in Pittsburgh.
Samardzija will start for the Chicago Cubs and A.J. Burnett for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday as two teams with long streaks of futility meet on opening day. The Cubs haven't won a World Series since 1908 and the Pirates haven't had a winning season since 1992.
After losing 101 games last season, the Cubs will look for Samardzija to get them off to a better start in the second year of the Theo Epstein-Jed Hoyer administration.
This will be the first opening-day start for Samardzija, who went 9-13 with a 3.81 ERA in 28 games last year in his first full season as a starting pitcher.
As a junior wide receiver at Notre Dame in 2005, Samardzija caught three passes for 34 yards and one touchdown to help the Fighting Irish beat Pitt 42-21 in Charlie Weis' first game as coach. Samardzija went on to become a consensus All-America that year.
''That was a big moment for me, scoring my firs...