After dropping game one against the White Sox on Monday, the Cubs evened the (let’s call it a) four-game series against the White Sox last night.
And tonight, Jake Arrieta takes the ball after not allowing more than three earned runs in a start for four straight starts! Woo. And during that stretch, which dates back to the beginning of July, he’s got a 2.13 ERA, which would be absolutely brilliant …if it didn’t come with a 4.33 FIP too.
However, there’s actually a real (and crazy encouraging) explanation for that discrepancy: his batted ball data.
During this four-game stretch, Arrieta’s 28.4% soft contact rate is nearly six percentage points BETTER THAN his 2015 Cy Young Campaign (22.8%). The same goes for hard contact (17.6% during this stretch, 22.1% during 2015). And, if you recall, Arrieta was actually one of the MLB leaders in both areas that season, so this is some serious contact management. And, if that is indeed what’s going on, you can ignore the fact that his FIP is so high, because he’s succeeding in a way that’s not exactly reflected by that statistic! Stuff!
We’ll have to dig deeper on this later (and if tonight goes well).
James Shields is starting for the Sox tonight and the only thing you need to know is that he’s been TERRIBLE against left-handers this season: .442 wOBA against and a 10.28 FIP (there are not any misplaced decimals in that). And as such, the Cubs have loaded the lineup with four lefties and three switch hitters (wow) to attack that particular weakness.
Win this game and the Cubs guarantee a split.
Chicago Cubs (52-47) at Chicago White Sox (39-58) – 7:10 CT on ABC-7, ESPN, 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): 4.11 ERA, 4.21 FIP, 4.03 xFIP; 2.92 K/BB
White Sox: James Shields (R): 5.79 ERA, 6.84 FIP, 6.25 xFIP; 1.36 K/BB
Chicago White Sox:
- Carlos Sanchez, 3B
- Melky Cabrera, LF
- Jose Abreu, 1B
- Matt Davidson, 3B
- Yoan Moncada, 2B
- Omar Narvaez, C
- Alen Hanson, RF
- Tim Anderson, SS
- Adam Engel, CF
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Ben Zobrist, 2B
- Kyle Schwarber, DH
- Ian Happ, CF
- Jon Jay, LF
- Addison Russell, SS
- Victor Caratini, C