Although Jake Arrieta has officially “unofficially owned” the Pittsburgh Pirates since a dominating complete game shutout (9.0 IP, 0ER, 5H, 0BB, 11Ks) in the 2015 NL Wild Card Game, he’s actually been really great against him throughout his entire career.
In 21 starts (128.2 IP) against the Bucs, Arrieta has compiled an 11-6 record, featuring a 3.01 ERA, 124 strikeouts, a WHIP under 1.00 (.972 WHIP), and .196/.265/.333 slash line against.
Needless to say, no Pirates fan enjoys seeing Jake Arrieta toe the opposing rubber (that sounds like an inappropriate euphemism, but we’re talking about baseball here), and they were probably all happy to see him leave the NL Central this winter.
Of course, just because he left the Cubs doesn’t mean he won’t still cross paths with the Pirates. In fact, he did yesterday, and he absolutely dominated:
Over 7.0 IP, Jake Arrieta allowed no runs on just one hit and two walks against 10 strikeouts (yeah, it was a #VintageJake gem). According to FanGraphs, that earned him a Game Score of 84, which is higher than any start he made with the Cubs all of last season and all but one of his starts over the past TWO YEARS (only his no-hitter against the Reds was higher since the start of 2016).
Meanwhile, the 10 strikeouts upped his 2018 strikeout rate to a solid 23.2%, while the two lonely walks dropped that rate down to 7.8 BB%. And with no runs allowed, Jake’s ERA has shrunk to 2.04 for the season.
More impressively, opposing batters are hitting just .175 AVG off Jake this season, thanks, in part, to a RIDICULOUS 65.2% ground ball rate, which is tied for the highest mark in MLB, and a tiny 17.4% hard-hit rate.
Basically, Jake far better than he did last season, and just made one of the better starts of his career. Good for him.