A year and a day ago in this park, Jake Arrieta threw a no-hitter and the Cubs scored 16 runs.
This was not quite a repeat, though the Cubs’ offense blew up once again, and they’ve now won four in a row.
From the very first inning, the game seemed like it was going to be one of those that would take 12 runs to win, as the Cubs put a three-spot on Anthony Rizzo’s second three-run homer in as many days, and the Reds responded immediately with a three-run Joey Votto blast and a Eugenio Suarez solo homer in the bottom of the frame.
Moreover, it felt like a day that Jake Arrieta was really going to struggle … except after that first inning, he allowed just one more run through the next five innings, and retired 11 of the final 12 batters he faced. A couple ugly, elevated pitches early, and that was pretty much the bulk of Arrieta’s struggles on the day. Outside of that, he was sharp, and of particular interest, he was sitting 93/94mph with his fastball with good command for the most part.
As for the bats, it wasn’t until the 9th inning that they scored a run without the benefit of an extra-base hit. Coupled with yesterday’s game, they’ve scored just two of their 18 runs in this series without an extra-base hit, and of those other 16 runs, all but one (a Jake Arrieta triple) came on a homer. Great American Ballpark and Cincinnati Reds pitching are indeed the salve the Cubs’ bats needed to not have to worry as much about getting hits with runners in scoring position (when you’re dinging, they’re all in scoring position). That’s how you score 12 runs on a day you had only 9 hits: slug.
This is the first time he’s done this in a long time (bullpen didn’t walk anyone either):