The recent west coast trip wan’t a good one, for Chicago Cubs players not named Jake Arrieta.
The stretch of four games from Wednesday night through Saturday yielded just six runs, a whole lot of strikeouts, and no wins. Just when the Pittsburgh Pirates seemed to be coming into view, and home-field advantage in the NL wild card along with it, the Cubs laid an egg. The Pirates pulled away, and the Giants closed in from behind. The SI cover jinx appeared to be in full effect.
But Jake Arrieta bookended the road trip in grand style, by beating the Giants to start things off on Tuesday and no-hitting the Dodgers on Sunday, which stopped the bleeding of the previous four days. He’s now 11-and-1 in road starts this season, and has made it all but impossible for Joe Maddon to turn to anyone besides him with the season on the line, some five weeks from now.
There are now 33 games left in the regular season, and the Cubs are likely not going to catch the Cardinals. They could catch the Pirates, and they could lose their playoff spot to the Giants. There don’t seem to be any other options for movement at this time, but baseball never seems to run short on surprises, either.
The Pirates’ 46-21 record at PNC Park this season is not to be taken likely. They’re tough to beat at home, and only two pitchers have done it more than once this season: Mike Leake of the Cincinnati Reds, and Jake Arrieta. If there was ever any doubt about who should get the start at PNC in October–if it should come to that–Jake Arrieta put it all to rest on Sunday night.
Here’s looking forward to some dancing in September this year.