In his first dominant outing in quite a while, Jake Arrieta today looked like the best version of Jake Arrieta, rocking the Cardinals for seven innings, and terrifying teams hoping to be in the playoffs in the process. If this guy is THIS GUY during the playoffs, the Cubs could cruise.
On the day, Arrieta got some help from his defense, but he also struck out 10 and threw 68 strikes in his 99 pitches over seven scoreless, one-walk innings. I’m giddy.
Pedro Strop followed Arrieta with a scoreless frame in his return from the DL. He walked the first batter on four pitches – isn’t that always the way after a long DL stint? – but commanded the fastball from there. The slider wasn’t quite as sharp or well-commanded as you’d like to see, but, again, he’s just warming back up. He looked healthy. I’m happy.
Offensively, the Cubs did their damage early, scoring four times in the first inning thanks both to their own efforts at the plate and also some misadventures from the Cardinals in the field.
With the season dwindling and the Cardinals already behind slightly in the Wild Card race, every loss at this point is extremely damaging.