Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

jake arrieta mustache pajamasBetween the raw stuff, hitters’ reactions and inability to generate hard-hit balls, one could surmise that Jake Arrieta put himself in an elite category of pitchers with his performance in Sunday’s no-hitter.

And while the no-hitter is just the tip of the iceberg, it is safe to say it as Arrieta is literally putting together one of the great pitching seasons in the modern era of Cubs baseball.

Arrieta’s 5.4 fWAR is the best for a Cubs pitcher since Mark Prior’s 2004 (7.8) and the fourth best by any Cubs pitcher in the last 30 years. The other three pitchers? Greg Maddux’s 1992 (7.0), 1991 (5.8) and 1990 (5.1) seasons.

Here are your 5-WAR pitchers for the Cubs since 1985:

Mark Prior18-6211.12.432.477.8
Greg Maddux20-11268.02.182.587.0
Greg Maddux15-11263.03.353.065.8
Jake Arrieta17-6183.02.112.515.4
Greg Maddux15-15237.03.463.155.1

Arrieta is having one of the best seasons this generation of Cubs fans has ever seen and can still stand to be better as the rest of the season could yield five or six more starts.

All while the Cubs are pushing toward a postseason spot makes this even more impressive.

The no-hitter was the cherry on top as he had the ideal balance of composure, command and stuff come together in a perfect storm in what was one of the best pitched games in recent memory.

The 98 game score is tied with no-hitters by Chris Heston and Cole Hamels and Corey Kluber’s eight-inning one-hitter for the second best in baseball this year. Only Max Scherzer’s near-perfect no-hitter (100 game score) rates higher. You can take a peek at those games here.

And as it stands, it is one of the greatest pitching performances by a Cubs pitcher in the modern era. It is the second best game score for a Cubs pitcher in the last 50 years. Only Kerry Wood’s 20 strikeout game, which garnered a 105, ranks higher.

Here is a look at every game score of 90 or better for the Cubs over the last 50 years, via

1Kerry Wood1998-05-06HOU910200105
2Jake Arrieta2015-08-30LAD90012198
3Jake Arrieta2014-09-16CIN91013197
4Kerry Wood2001-05-25MIL91014297
5Carlos Zambrano2008-09-14HOU90010196
6Frank Castillo1995-09-25STL91013296
7Ken Holtzman1971-06-08PIT129012096
8Greg Maddux1988-05-11SDP10308094
9Fergie Jenkins1973-07-22SFG12416294
10Dick Ellsworth1966-05-14CIN13703193
11Rich Hill2006-09-16CIN92010192
12Mark Prior2004-09-30CIN93116192
13Dennis Eckersley1985-04-16PHI105011192
14Milt Pappas1972-09-02SDP9006192
15Juan Pizarro1971-08-05SDP9109292
16Bill Faul1965-08-03PHI9209092
17Mark Prior2003-04-09MON94012091
18Rick Sutcliffe1984-09-08NYM94012091
19Rick Reuschel1976-05-12SFG10306191
20Fergie Jenkins1971-05-10PHI94012091
21Carlos Zambrano2009-09-25SFG9208190
22Jose Guzman1993-04-06ATL9107290
23Rick Sutcliffe1984-06-24STL95014190
24Dickie Noles1982-04-28CIN9107290
25Rick Reuschel1973-08-03MON94011090
26Dick Selma1969-05-23SDP9209290

Arrieta is the author of the second and third best game scores for a Cubs pitcher since 1965. So, maybe it is of no coincidence that Arrieta’s 10.4 fWAR since the start of the 2014 season is tied for the fifth best in baseball with Max Scherzer.

So, what does he do for an encore?

I guess we’ll have to tune in today and find out.

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