Wednesday marks the two year anniversary that I’ve been writing for FiveWide. It’s been a good time for me, and whether it continues for two more days, two more months, or two more years is something we’ll have to wait and see.
But as I type this out, I am positively buzzing about the Cubs this year. Jake Arrieta is as dominant a pitcher as I’ve ever seen, and I’m old enough for that to mean something. To get to the 20-win plateau–which is something that no Cubs pitcher had done since before Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook were invented–Arrieta threw a three-hit complete game shutout against the hopelessly overmatched Milwaukee Brewers. These are major leaguers at the top of their game, and Arrieta made them look like a high school JV team. The home crowd loved every minute of it, I’m sure.
Jake’s ERA was a paltry 2.66 at the time of the All-Star break, but apparently that wasn’t good enough to make the team. Since that time, he’s gone 10-1 and whittled his ERA down to 1.88. Oh, and he also threw a no-hitter along the way. Just give him the Cy Young award now and be done with it. Zack Greinke’s already got one, anyway.
There’s some legitimate debate about whether Jake will get the Cy Young award, but there’s no doubt that Kris Bryant will win the NL Rookie of the Year award. He’s now at the doorstep of 100 RBIs, with a week and a half left in the season and two lost weeks down at Triple-A. Who can make the case that Mike Olt was ever ahead of this guy? Certainly not I.
The Cubs keep on winning, but they can’t make up any ground unless the Cardinals and/or Pirates decide to lose a game. The two-game lead that the Pirates have over the Cubs for the first wild card spot can be made up by a sweep in Wrigley Field this weekend, but taking two of three games may be enough, if the Cardinals can take out the Pirates in their remaining series in Pittsburgh. That’s not a given, though, since the Pirates have one of the best home records in the game this season.
The Cubs need to snatch the wild card game away from Pittsburgh in the closing days of the regular season. Lots of Cubs fans want to be there in person, and any advantage in a one-and-done situation will help.
Here’s hoping that the next month will be an exciting time in Chicago, the kind that no living Cubs fan has seen before.