Totally Jake: Arrieta Tosses a Gem in Boston

Totally Jake: Arrieta Tosses a Gem in Boston

Unlike Inspectah Deck, the Red Sox could not 'scape from Jake on Monday night, as the up-and-and coming Cubs righty tossed a gem of a ballgame. Cubs fans have been taking note of Arrieta's improvement since his delayed first start on May 3rd against the Cardinals. He held the Cards scoreless that afternoon but was unable to earn the W.

Since then, all Arrieta has done is compile a 4-1 record with a 2.05 ERA with 64 strikeouts and only 15 walks. His control had been a concern, leading to elevated pitch counts and preventing Arrieta from going deep into his starts. But heading into last night's game, he had gone 7 innings in each of his previous 3 starts, recording at least 9 K's in each.

The pitch count could have become an issue in this contest too, as Arrieta exceeded his career high of 114 while attempting to retire Stephen Drew with 2 out. But with a clean single to right, Drew ended the no-hit bid at 120 pitches. Final line: 7.2*, 1 H, 1 BB, 10 K's; like Harrison Ford being a quarter Jewish, not too shabby.

Jake had taken a no-hitter into his last start as well, holding the Reds without a knock into the 6th until Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper ruined it. After flirting with history again, and against the Red Sox in Fenway no less, the rest of the baseball world is starting to take notice of what Cubs fans have been saying for a while.

After Arrieta was lifted, his fellow former Oriole, Pedro Strop, came in to retire heralded rookie Mookie Betts. Strop has got the kind of electric stuff that make you drool, but he has a tendency to like Carlos Marmol Light. Regardless, the duo has been more than fair compensation for the O's late-season rental of Scott Feldman.

Speaking of, is anyone still tossing Feldman's name out there as a part of the "Cubs trade all their good players" narrative? No? Good.

Of course, that same narrative has still got legs and it's going to be running the Boston Marathon as rumors swirl around Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija. But if he keeps pitching like this, Jake Arrieta may ascend into the ace role that so many never thought Shark was capable of filling.

A pitcher of Samardzija's caliber isn't expendable, but Arrieta's emergence at least takes a little of the sting out of possibly losing such a talent. He also represents some of the fruits of the labors of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, along with the similar breakout of Anthony Rizzo.

Even with Arrieta throwing lights-out of late, it was hard to imagine him shutting down the Red Sox, a team that was 10-2 in their last 12 games at Fenway. But a 2-run homer to right from Nate Schierholtz was all the offense the Cubs needed on the night; thanks for inspiring the short porch, Ted Williams!

As he walked off to an ovation from the Fenway crowd, heavily peppered with Cubs fans, I can only imagine Arrieta's dueling emotions. Disappointment, elation, relief, anger; or maybe that was just me. Actually, I had pretty near a perfect vantage point for the game, in a way.

My son and I watched the first two innings until he asked me to go outside, which we did after Darwin Barney struck out (surprise!) to end the 2nd. If there's anything that can pull me away from a Cubs/Sox game at Fenway, it's hearing that little five-year-old voice ask, "Daddy, can we go play catch?"

After a few tosses back and forth, we moved to BP, where he took cuts from both sides of the plate. He drops his back elbow too much, his focus is lacking, and he has trouble following through on swings, but when he puts it together he can really drive the ball. So basically, he's a switch-hitting Junior Lake.

We walked back into the house just in time to see a graphic detailing the exploits of the offensive juggernaut that was the 2003 Red Sox, followed by the aforementioned blow from Nate Schierholtz. Then my son retired upstairs to the computer and my daughter and I watched a couple innings before she requested a game of Wii baseball.

I indulged her for a game before letting both kids square off, at which point I took my son's place at the computer. With my U-Verse wireless receiver not receiving, I fired up the MLB At Bat app and decided to work on a post about Arrieta's night. I was 3 paragraphs in when Drew singled; the TV was working again, but I heard Pat's call on WGN radio setting the course for my writing.

So as much as I'd have love to have seen a no-hitter, I find more than enough solace in the events of the evening. Jake Arrieta continued to show out, I got to play catch with my son and video games with my daughter, and now I'm enjoying a home-brewed beer while writing.

Besides, the way he's pitching, this won't be our last chance to see Arrieta make an opponent look less than jake.

*I really despise the use of .1 and .2 to signify a pitcher getting 1 or 2 outs into an inning; there are 3 outs, not 10. I understand the brevity and whatnot, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

Follow me on Twitter: @DEvanAltman

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