On Sunday night, the Chicago Cubs needed a win. To take care of that, they sent Jake Arrieta to the mound. Just nine days after Mike Fiers no-hit the Los Angeles Dodgers, Arrieta also completed the task, this time in the City of Angels. It is Arrieta’s first career no-hitter, and the first for a Cubs pitcher since Carlos Zambrano in 2008. This now marks the sixth ho-hitter of this 2015 season.
It was yet another dominant performance from Arrieta, which is becoming a nightly routine for the 29-year-old. Arrieta continues to raise the bar, raise his game, and reach new career heights while pitching the Cubs through a pennant chase. Against the Dodgers, he was in command all night long, with a walk and an error by second baseman Starlin Castro accounting for the only two base runners. To add another feather in the cap, Arrieta also struck out a career high 12 hitters, including all three in the ninth inning, on his way to the history books.
In this month of August, Arrieta has made all sorts of history. He has become just the second Cubs pitcher in the last 30 years, and eighth overall, to go at least 5-0 with a sub-1.00 ERA in a calendar month. The last Cub to do that was Mark Prior in 2003, which was also the last time Chicago won a playoff series.
Arrieta has topped that, now going 6-0 in the month of August win a sub-0.50 ERA. In August, Arrieta allowed a total of two earned runs in 42.1 innings pitched. He is the first pitcher this season to reach the 17-win mark and has to be considered among the serious contenders for the National League Cy Young award.
All season long Arrieta has been the Cubs’ number one pitcher, often starting a winning streak or, like in Sunday’s case, stopping a losing streak. He has elevated himself to that elite group of starters. Last season, he was on the brink of no-hitter type performances, and now he has achieved that milestone in grand fashion. He has gone from flirting with history, to making history.
Arrieta’s last loss was against Cole Hamels the day he threw his no-hitter against the Cubs. These days, that appears to be the only way to take down the grizzled right-hander. This year, Arrieta’s only defeats have been when the Cubs have failed to score a run in support. Arrieta has proven that with a shred of run support he is as dangerous out on the mound as anyone. Arrieta has found that groove of honing in on his abilities and crafting up gems every fifth day. What a difference a change of scenery can make.
Since Arrieta’s last loss, the Cubs have defeated the likes of Edwin Jackson, Matt Garza, and Jeff Samardzija, who are all former Cubs. It is almost symbolic that through this Cubs rebuild, they have defeated their stepping stones, and have uncovered a major building block in the process. Now with this no-hitter, it is like a changing of the guard in Chicago. Jake Arrieta has put the Cubs on his back in 2015 and has officially reached that ace stratosphere.