Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta is no stranger to flirting with no-hitters, losing two in the eighth inning last season. On Sunday night, he finished the job, holding the Los Angeles Dodgers hitless in a 2-0 victory.
arrieta struck out 12 at dodgers stadium, including the last three batters of the night. The only blemish on his throwing line was a walk to Jimmy Rollins in the bottom of the sixth. however, second baseman starlin castro had previously made an error in the bottom of the third that negated any throw from a perfect game.
The only support for Arrieta came from a two-run home run by Kris Bryant in the top of the first inning. the Cubs had 13 hits but had 12 runners on base. Futility like that can often lead to losing teams, but it was inconsequential Sunday night with the Dodgers unable to understand Arrieta.
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It was the first no-hitter by a Cubs pitcher since September 2008, when Carlos Zambrano accomplished the feat against the Houston Astros.
Coincidentally, CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney asked Arrieta before the season if he could turn his no-hitter luck around in 2015. Here’s how he responded, not knowing how prophetic his words would prove:
It’s kind of hard to say, but I feel like I’ll be able to put myself in those situations. it’s so hard to control anything else that happens outside of you running a pitch. And it’s such a rare thing to happen. you throw nasty pitches and a guy bleeds one on the first baseman or the second baseman. So a lot of things have to go your way, but I think I’ll have a chance.
arrieta not only put up his best material, but he also got a timely defense, like this stab from castro in the seventh inning, according to the cubs’ official twitter account:
With Dodgers manager Don Mattingly throwing seven left-handed hitters (including switch hitters) in his starting lineup, Arrieta’s ability to count on his slider was immense, according to scott miller of the bleacher report:
the movement in this field, shared on twitter by the pups, was unreal:
y arrieta removed any doubt as to whether he had enough left in the tank to complete the game hitless when he threw a 95 mph sinker to enrique hernandez, prompting a groundout late in the eighth.
This is the second time in just over a week that the Dodgers have gone hitless, since Houston Astros starter Mike Fers locked out the Angels’ lineup in August. 21. According to mike petriello of mlb.com, that sets a new benchmark in the national league:
The 1923 Philadelphia Athletics were the last team to be hitless in the shortest number of days, according to statistics from espn & info espn’s jayson stark also pointed out this unfortunate stat for dodgers second baseman chase utley:
jonathan (nathan) bernhardt of baltimore sports and life used the occasion to highlight how crazy the renaissance of arrieta’s career has been in chicago:
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as yahoo sports’ jeff passan pointed out, the baltimore orioles are looking dumber with each passing year for letting arrieta go for next to nothing :
espn’s buster olney provided insight into why the 29-year-old pitcher looks like a completely different pitcher:
Dodgers third base coach Ron Roenicke discussed Arrieta’s progression before Sunday’s game, and his assessment proved prophetic.
“He can get there,” Roenicke said of the right-hander becoming one of the best pitchers in the game, according to espn.com’s Jesse Rogers. “His stuff from him is very good. I’ve seen the command get better and better. The first time we saw it, it was great, but the command wasn’t there. If you can control those things, you’ll be one.” of elite pitchers.”
It would be wrong to say that Arrieta’s no-no shows that he deserves to be mentioned with the highest arms in baseball; his numbers for the last two years should have already proved that. petriello emphasized that point:
If anything, this achievement further illustrates just how dominant arrieta can be when everything is working. It will also come in handy at the negotiating table for Arrieta when he and the Cubs agree to salary terms for next season in arbitration.
Since Cubs are more likely to make the postseason (they have an 88.1 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to baseball prospect), a pitcher like a striker can be an invaluable resource. between him and jon lester, chicago has a phenomenal double at the top of their rotation.