Last night may well have been Jake Arrieta’s last start with the Chicago Cubs, and boy was it a good (and important!) one. His efforts kept the NLCS alive, forcing a Game Five tonight.
But we’re not here to recap Arrieta’s time in Chicago and what he’s meant to this organization/city – we’ll get to that after the season is over, whenever it comes. Instead, we’re here to dig in on Arrieta’s singular brilliance last night with the team’s back against the wall.
Before we get into the numbers, you can relive the magic right here:
His final line, as you can imagine, was quite pretty: 6.2 IP, 3H, 1ER, 5BB, 9Ks. Sure, the walks aren’t great, but when you’re working to miss bats like he was, that’ll happen.
Speaking of which: that’s the first time Arrieta’s struck out at least nine batters in a start since May 26 (he topped 9Ks only once this season, and that was all the way back in his second start of the year). But the Ks were no surprise, because according to Brooks, he recorded a really solid 14 whiffs on the night, with six of them coming from his curveball and five others on his sinker. When he’s got those two pitches working and is averaging around 93 MPH, Arrieta can be dominant, as he was.
There were two things Arrieta wasn’t great at last night, though. First, he didn’t do a great job of keeping the ball on the ground. With the wind blowing out as much as it was, you’d prefer he got more than six grounders (one of which was a bunt). Second, the five walks made things far more interesting than they needed to be. And, again, with the wind howling out, you don’t want to have an superfluous base runners.
But all in all, Arrieta was nails and gave the Cubs exactly what they needed: to get to the seventh inning with a lead.
I hope it’s not farewell, but if it was, Jake, you were a badass to the very end.
Hope this isn’t the last time we see Jake at Wrigley as a Cub. If so, thank you for everything. pic.twitter.com/Vt8r7QJfRk
— Jon Ferlise (@CubsKingdom) October 19, 2017