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jake arrietaIf you’re planning your week, might I suggest Star Wars Night at Wrigley on Wednesday, and then Social Media Night on Thursday? I’ll be back at the ballpark those nights, which should be a lot of fun. Details as those nights approach, but you know the gist: for the game, I’ll be there in the right field bleachers, over by the LED board.

Another thing to look forward to: the second episode of BNTV will be recorded live tomorrow night at 8pm CT (9pm ET). You can join in the fun by showing up for the recording and throwing out your thoughts/questions in the comments and on Twitter. If you want to ask a question in advance, send it to BNTV at bleachernation dot com. If you missed the first episode, you can check it out at BNTV’s YouTube page.

  • It had been a little while since we’d seen a Jake Arrieta outing like yesterday’s against the Mets. Other than the blip in Colorado, it’s not like he’d been bad or anything – he’s been fantastic – but we were waiting for another game where he sat on the opponents head and didn’t get up. His seven-inning, no run, two hit, two walk, nine strikeout performance did it. Digging in on some of the numbers: Arrieta got 11 whiffs yesterday, and got a whiff nearly one in every three times he threw his curveball. It could’ve been even better yesterday, as it looks like at least four should’ve-been-strikes were called balls (Brooks). In one start, Arrieta managed to lower his already low ERA by 16 points to 2.61 and his FIP by 5 points to 2.32. By win probability added, yesterday’s was Arrieta’s best start since that almost no-hitter in Boston back in June. Arrieta certainly looked strong, too, with hist fastball sitting in the mid-90s, and his slider/cutter/slutter hitting 90/91mph.
  • Arrieta is approaching 120 innings on the year, which is not a significant total, though he missed the first month of the season with a Spring Training shoulder issue, and had to ramp up a bit in the length of his starts early on. The expectation – well, my expectation, anyway – has been that the Cubs would eventually ramp Arrieta’s innings down as we get into September, and possibly even shut him down (in part to preserve Arrieta for next year, and in part to spread around the remaining innings). For his part, Arrieta tells the Tribune he feels ready to finish out the year with however many innings he can get (but it sounds like he understands the importance of the Cubs getting innings for other guys to plan for next year). Between the big leagues and the minors last year, Arrieta threw 154.2 innings, so, even if he were to finish out the season in the rotation, he’s not going to pass that mark by a significant amount.
  • Speaking of that stuff, Felix Doubront made his second rehab start at AAA Iowa, and could be nearing the point where he’ll be ready to get a look in the big leagues for the Cubs. The 26-year-old lefty had good velocity (I’m told), threw 94 pitches (62 strikes), and allowed three earned runs over six innings on eight hits and one walk. He struck out four. He also hit a guy, but then immediately picked him off.
  • (And speaking of Arrieta’s dominance, here’s a link to the extension discussion on Arrieta if you missed it last week.)
  • The story of Matt Szczur’s call-up and debut (Cubs.com).
  • It’s official. The Cubs must keep John Baker forever and ever:

  • I was happy to accept both ends of the challenge. And The Little Girl even helped:

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