Jake Arrieta: 7 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 6 K.
The cliche thing to say in this space is “what can you say about Jake Arrieta that hasn’t already been said?” … but I can say some things! Not only was Arrieta doing his usual thing – commanding four pitches exceptionally well, inducing nothing but weak contact, getting strikeouts when he needed them – but he was also getting absolutely disgusting movement on his changeup:
Mike Trout meets Jake Arrieta. Don't feel bad, Mike. It's what Jake does. pic.twitter.com/n7Vfsrk7b5
— Baseball Is Fun (@flippingbats) April 5, 2016
That’s Mike Trout looking helpless against a darting changeup that moves like a slider coming in from a lefty at 89mph. Arrieta had started using more of his changeup later last year, and it was good. But it didn’t move like that baby did tonight.
Arrieta also got plenty of whiffs with his slider/cutter, and his curveball looked really biting sharp tonight, too.
Moreover, the Cubs made Angels starter Garrett Richards throw 42(!) pitches in the 4th inning, and he lasted just one more because of it.
Kyle Schwarber was the only Cubs batter not to reach base on the night, and even he ripped the ball twice to the right, but both resulted in outs (something he’ll deal with a lot when he pulls the ball low, right into a heavy shift).
It was a tough debut for the Cubs’ new positional guys in Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist (who had a couple Ks with runners on third and fewer than two outs, got picked off, and also grounded into a double play), but what’s impressive is that, even in “tough” games for them, they still did a number of things to help the Cubs win. They played solid defense, they hit the ball hard at times, they generally put the ball in play, etc. Maybe it only looked “tough” by comparison to the rest of the lineup.
But I have to come back to the man on the mound, whose dalliances with Mike Trout left me especially pleased …