In the pantheon of “return” outings, you cannot realistically hope for better than Jake Arrieta’s return to the Cubs yesterday at Wrigley Field.
No, he wasn’t facing a loaded lineup, and no, he didn’t throw a no-hitter. But 6.0 IP, just 1 ER on 6 hits and 1 BB, with 5 Ks … that’s a really good start! Given his struggles the last couple years, it was especially nice to see. Consider that, by Game Score (66), it was better than all but three of his starts the last two years. Yes, yesterday was Arrieta’s fourth best start since 2018. Most of that underscores his struggles, but it also speaks to how solid the outing was.
Watch and enjoy his very nice return to the Cubs:
Three years, seven months and five days between starts, Jake returned to pick up his 69th career win in a Cubs uniform. pic.twitter.com/XeiCi0pjDy
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 3, 2021
We are so happy to have this guy back.
For his part, Arrieta is happy to back, too (via Sun-Times):
“I’ve been anticipating this day for a while. It felt really good,” Arrieta said. “Even though there’s only 20% capacity, it felt like a lot more. Very thankful for the fans showing up the way they did with the excitement, the energy from the first pitch, even before the first pitch. They were ready to get after it. And it’s just like I remembered it. A little jittery to start, but a great day, nonetheless …
“I spent the last couple of days riding my little scooter around the city, seeing familiar spots, getting recognized by some people, which were things that I really embraced when I was here before,” he said. “I think the fans here are some of the best in the world. And that’s one of the things that I remember most is just passing by people, having brief conversation. The appreciation is very special to myself and everybody here.”