Is the dominant Jake Arrieta from 2015 and part of 2016 still lurking, underneath an ugly ERA?
It’s been a grotesquely uneven start to the season for Jake Arrieta. From mid-2014 through the end of last season, few pitchers were as consistently tough to hit as Arrieta. The Cubs could send him to the mound knowing he would work deep into the game, miss bats (or at least the barrels of them), and put the team in a position to win, even if he lacked the sharp command that made him (for a year or so) one of the most brilliant pitchers the game has ever seen.
This year, though, he’s having problems he hasn’t had in years. There are pitches elevated in a way they haven’t been, first within the strike zone, then into the bleachers. There are far fewer swings and misses, which is leading to long at-bats and short outings. This isn’t happening every time, and indeed, he got more ground balls in his latest outing—an easy win over the Brewers in which he surrendered just one unearned run over six innings, with six strikeouts and one walk. However, even then he threw 111 pitches in order to get through those six frames.
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Who surprised last year and what does that mean for 2017?
Yesterday, George Bissell gave a rousing introduction to our bloated American landscape of low innings totals, high earned run averages, and higher ace valuations in turn. With managers increasingly inclined to limit third-time looks, workhorse starters are becoming as rare as split-ticket voters, and an old-world strategic play of bulking up rotation back-ends with average innings-eaters may just be gone forever by the wayside. Before we get too lost in nostalgia, let’s take a look at a few guys who either over- or under-performed in the category of ERA.
The Cubs power their way through a pivotal game against the Cardinals.
Game Three of the NLDS between the Cardinals and the Cubs shifted to Wrigley Field on Monday night, with the advantage tilting to the Cubs not only because they split the first two games of the series in St. Louis but because their ace was taking the hill. While Michael Wacha certainly isn’t any kind of slouch, it would be difficult to argue that the Cubs didn’t have a significant edge with the white hot Jake Arrieta on the mound.
In a time when pitch counts and innings limits are a hot topic, Joe Maddon fears not and goes with the unknown.
Jake Arrieta had just tossed 123 pitches as he stood on the mound celebrating his 20th victory of the season with his teammates. It was a moment he won't soon forget, and his manager Joe Maddon was the one who allowed him to experience it. There are those who believe there was no good reason for Arrieta to still be out there when that game ended, however Maddon felt otherwise. Was he justified? At BP Wrigleyville, Sahadev Sharma takes an in-depth look at pitch counts, experiencing the moment, and understanding the need to treat each player on a case-by-case basis.
Can one of the league's hottest pitchers keep it up?
I’m flipping the script a bit this week. Y’all brought interesting names to the table in the comments section last week, and while I normally choose an individual player on whom to focus based upon your suggestions, I felt the need to go off the board. Quite simply, it’s because right-hander Jake Arrieta laid waste to Major League Baseball last month. He wasn’t talked about enough in fantasy circles, but after flirting with no-hitters in back-to-back outings, he’s on the tip of every fantasy owner’s tongue.
Through 39 2/3 innings in the month of June, Arrieta compiled a 0.92 ERA with 48 strikeouts and only six walks. He’s gone four consecutive starts in which he’s thrown at least seven innings and struck out nine. Fantasy owners have taken notice, too, as the 28-year-old hurler is now owned in 83.5 percent of ESPN leagues (as of Monday evening). It’s a number that has increased dramatically in the past couple weeks, and owners have begun to ask whether Arrieta is someone to simply plug-and-play while he’s scorching hot, or if this breakout is something more permanent.
Jake Arrieta's breakout season continues, two games last beyond the 13th inning, plus more from a wild Tuesday and what to watch today.
The Tuesday Takeaway Jake Arrieta entered Tuesday coming off a trio of superb outings over which he allowed just one run and 10 hits with a shiny 27-to-2 K:BB ratio in 20 innings of work. The 28-year-old right-hander continued his breakout campaign by flirting with perfection and twirling seven outstanding innings against the Reds.