Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

jake arrieta beard featureJake Arrieta went nine innings last night without allowing a run, walking only one, giving up only three hits, and striking out eleven. Sure, the Brewers’ lineup was weak, but that’s still an overwhelmingly good performance.

Even at this late stage in the year, the start still moved the needle on some of his impressive season numbers:

  • The shutout dropped Arrieta’s ERA/FIP/xFIP from 1.96/2.50/2.75 to 1.88/2.44/2.69. That’s the second best ERA in baseball (Zack Greinke, 1.65), the second best FIP (Clayton Kershaw, 2.09), and the third best xFIP (Kershaw, 2.17; Chris Sale, 2.58).

  • Arrieta’s WAR increased to 6.7, behind only Clayton Kershaw (7.8).
  • Arrieta’s K rate and BB rate improved to 26.6% and 5.8%, respectively.
  • Arrieta’s innings total is up to 216.0, a near 60-inning jump from last season.

On that last one, and on the decision to allow Arrieta to throw 123 pitches to finish a 4-0 game last night, I don’t have much of a beef with Joe Maddon’s decision. I have, at other times, taking issue with a decision here or there to leave Arrieta in, usually when you see the intersection of three things: (1) an elevated pitch count, (2) stressful innings, particularly late, and (3) a diminishing in the quality of the pitcher’s stuff. Last night, while I don’t love the “123 pitches,” in isolation, that really doesn’t give you a picture of the decision. Arrieta’s night was exceedingly un-stressful, and the stuff looked as good in the 8th inning as it did in the 2nd.

For his part, Maddon admitted it was a very close call after the game, and said that if the Cubs had pushed the lead to 5-0, he would have gone to the bullpen. When you factor the lead, the situation (getting to 20 wins in front of the home crowd in a shutout, which did lead to a very cool on-field celebration), and, presumably, the need to win the game, Maddon decided to let Arrieta finish things out (ESPN).

The start marked Arrieta’s 18th straight quality start.


And the highlights from Arrieta’s huge night:

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