Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

jake arrieta cubs roadIt’s hard to even get into much else in this space this morning because there are so many great things to share from last night’s no-hitter. I just want to dump them all in here and say: enjoy. Which I will do at the end. Up front, Bullets …

  • Jake Arrieta’s no-hitter was just the second Cubs no-hitter in my lifetime, with the first coming in 2008 by Carlos Zambrano against the Astros … in Milwaukee, because of Hurricane Ike. These moments are historic and special, and I’m going to remember this, the feeling of it. As fans, we pour irrational volumes of ourselves into a child’s game – involving pajamas during and after the game, no less! – for reasons we probably can’t always articulate. Today, I can articulate it. I do this, because sometimes the payoff is the reflected glow of having watched – hell, participated in as a community – something truly special. It’s all very silly and stupid if you spend a few minutes considering it. But it’s also totally worth it.
  • Speaking of the pajamas and of history, how perfect is it that we will always remember Arrieta following his 2015 no-hitter by wearing a mustache onesie because the team was headed out, under new manager Joe Maddon, for a pajama party flight back to Chicago? If that all doesn’t sum up the ethos of 2015 Cubs season, I don’t know what will.

  • I hadn’t really processed until much later the fact that Jake Arrieta struck out the side in the 9th to complete his no-hitter. I was so caught up in the moment, hanging on every pitch, that I didn’t have a second to step back and globalize some things. I was telling The Wife – who usually doesn’t stay up to watch these late games with me, but there was no way I was letting here leave the room after the sixth inning – that it’s so impressive how Arrieta could be so nasty and command his pitches in that 9th inning. It takes a special kind of mental state to not overthrow or lose the pitch-to-pitch focus you need to have the kind of success Arrieta had in that 9th. Struck out the side to end it. That’s awesome. Arrieta, himself, didn’t really realize he’d finished it that way until later, either.
  • Also awesome: Jake Arrieta, overall. With the dominating shutout, Arrieta’s 5.4 WAR has him tied for third most in baseball, behind only Clayton Kershaw (6.6) and Chris Sale (5.8). His 2.11 ERA is better than anyone in baseball not named Zack Greinke (1.61). Arrieta’s 2.49 FIP once again trails only Kershaw and Sale. His 2.73 xFIP is behind only those two plus Chris Archer and Dallas Keuchel. Over the past two years, Arrieta’s 10.4 WAR is behind only Kershaw, Kluber, Sale, and Price. Jake Arrieta is one of the best starters in baseball. He’s in that tier of the top-top guys. Full stop. The end.
  • Arrieta’s no-hitter wasn’t one of those flukey, defense-driven ones, either. Not only did he issue only 1 walk and have 12 strikeouts, he netted a crazy number of swings and misses. Getting 10 or so in a game is solid. Last night, Arrieta got 21.

  • This made me chuckle: Miguel Montero described Arrieta’s pre-game warm-up as “brutal” ( I’d say he righted the ship.
  • The Starlin Castro error: was it an error? At the time it happened, it was just the third inning, so folks could react honestly without thinking about no-hit implications. It sounds like a few Dodgers are bitter that it was called – by the hometown scorer, by the way – an error, but Castro was adamant it was an error. As I watched live, I thought to myself, “That’s a tough play on a hard, sinking liner, but it was right at him. Castro should have had that.” I wasn’t sure whether that meant it was an error or a you-should-have-had-it hit, but when the ruling came down as an error, I honestly didn’t think much about it. Seemed like a tough error, but a fair ruling. You can watch it for yourself in that link and see what you think. StatCast had the ball hit at 101mph, for what it’s worth.
  • The Pirates decided on a make-up plan for the game that was rained out with the Cubs a few weeks ago. They opted for a day-night doubleheader rather than filling an off-day, so the game will be September 15 at PNC Park. Since it seems to be slightly harder to sweep (and get swept) in a doubleheader than win back-to-back games, this is probably a tiny, incremental bump for the Cubs’ Wild Card 2 odds, but a tiny, incremental hit for the Cubs’ Wild Card 1 odds. Mostly, it’s not really either of those things, and it’s just a consideration. The Cubs and Pirates will each probably have to go with a sixth starter that day, and it’ll be interesting to see who gets the call. Dallas Beeler had been the guy for the Cubs, but he struggled in a couple chances (though he’s been dominant at AAA of late). Tsuyoshi Wada? Clayton Richard?
  • The Cardinals might get a whole bunch of injured players back … just in time to face the Cubs next week, or at least the week after that. Neat.

  • If you missed anything else this weekend, catch up here. Scoreboard Watching and Minor League Daily from earlier this morning.
  • And now just a bunch of fun stuff from the no-hitter and the subsequent pajama party.

Family moment:

A pitching coach and the pitcher he helped realize his full potential:

Crowd reaction to the no-hitter (in Los Angeles, mind you):

Mustache pajamas are the new cat’s pajamas:

Celebrate in style:


Another shot of the group, and I’d like you to look very carefully at Travis Wood:

Rizzo emoji onesie for the win:

Onsie trip LA✈️CHI

A photo posted by Anthony Rizzo (@arizz_44) on

You know the drill:

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