Tonight, the Chicago Cubs will try to continue what they got started yesterday with a win over the Phillies. The weather is still pretty cold, but that hasn’t stopped either team from scoring runs over the past two games.
Jake Arrieta gets the ball for the Cubs tonight, after a bit of a clunker in Boston (4.1 IP, 10H, 5ER (all in the first), 3BB, 5Ks). Although the results haven’t quite been there for Arrieta this season, his strikeout rate (27.6%) and walk rate (6.5%) remain in very good shape. Batters have simply been hitting him well (.263 average against) and sequencing their production in a very nice way.
In fact, Arrieta’s 71.9% strand rate this season is actually 3 full percentage points lower than it was last year, despite a strikeout rate that is nearly 4% points greater. That doesn’t really add up.
In addition, Arrieta’s home run to fly ball ratio is more than 10 percentage points greater than it was last season – it’s actually 12th highest in MLB. To be fair, he is allowing more hard contact than usual, but he’s actually getting more soft contact as well. Obviously we’re getting deeper into the season, but given all the noise listed above, it’s just way too early to draw any conclusions on Arrieta just yet.
Opposing Arrieta and the Cubs is Phillies’ righty Jerad Eickhoff. Here’s what Brett had to say about him earlier:
Although Eickhoff has dominated righties in his young career (.206/.245/.350), he’s been pounded by lefties (.268/.327/.490). So, go get him Schwarber, Rizzo, Zobrist, Heyward, and Montero. Well, and the four righties, too.
Eickhoff’s last start came against the Dodgers and was not unlike Arrieta’s last start: 5.2 IP, 9H, 5ER, 3BBs, 3Ks. He’s been pretty fortunate with his HR/FB ratio this year, despite a fair amount of hard contact and a lot of fly balls … hopefully the Cubs can help him regress tonight at Wrigley.
Luis will be at the game tonight, so if you see him say, Apple Fritter. He’ll know what you mean (well, no he won’t, but it’ll probably start an interesting conversation).
Chicago Cubs (14-12) at Philadelphia Phillies (12-13) – 7:05 CT on CSN-C, 670 The Score
Game Thread and Series Preview
Your game thread is down in the comments, so let’s have some good, clean (safe-for-work) fun today.
Cubs: Jake Arrieta (R): 4.66 ERA, 4.30 FIP, 3.21 xFIP; 4.25 K/BB
Phillies: Jerad Eickhoff (R): 3.56 ERA, 3.55 FIP, 4.51 xFIP; 2.55 K/BB
- Cesar Hernandez, 2B
- Daniel Nava, LF
- Aaron Altherr, RF
- Maikel Franco, 3B
- Odubel Herrera, CF
- Brock Stassi, 1B
- Freddy Galvis, SS
- Andrew Knapp, C
- Jerad Eickhoff, P
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Ben Zobrist, RF
- Addison Russell, SS
- Jason Heyward, CF
- Miguel Montero, C
- Jake Arrieta, P
- Javy Baez, 2B