Who would have thought Jake Arrieta? Well, Cubs fans did, that’s who. Yesterday, the Chicago Cubs and Arrieta picked up their first win of the season 2-0 over the rival St. Louis Cardinals. What made the win that much bigger was the stellar play of Mr. Jake Arrieta.
In an off season that was highlighted by big spending, few would have imagined that it would be Arrieta that would get out of the gates early and become the hero.
The game started a little rocky for Arrieta but catcher Miguel Montero(who I have in my fantasy draft) had a little chat with the pitcher.
“Some guys need a pat on the back and some guys need to be yelled at, and I’m one of those guys who likes to be yelled at,” Arrieta said. “Montero recognizes things in situations that I need to do differently, and it’s great to have a voice like that behind the plate. We worked very well together.”
But it’s not only that. There’s a different vibe in the clubhouse this season. It almost feels from a fans perspective that this year’s edition of the Northsiders are a little more relaxed in their approach. It could be confidence and it could be that they’re gelling together.
At first glance, I thought perhaps that Lester’s signing was just another big free agent thing but he seems to be having positive effects in the clubhouse.
“His presence alone is one that elevates everybody,” Arrieta said. “I think that’s what Jon has done for me. I’ve always admired him from afar, from the other side. The second part of the tweet I said ‘I’ve watched you do it for many years.’ That’s what I want to incorporate into my game. Those are things we’re going to have to do for each other throughout the year. We’re all going to struggle at times. But the starter the next day has the ability to go out there and right the ship, save some arms in the ‘pen and get us rolling again.”
It’s that kind of unselfish player that gets me excited for this season. Arrieta talks about the other guys even the most expensive guy on the team. Oh, and my favourite pitcher in the rotation?
The Kyle Hendricks Experience.
“Hendricks is probably one of the most underrated guys in baseball,” Arrieta said. “He’s in his second year. Not really everybody knows about him yet. Just watching this guy for the past couple of years, his composure is incredible. He understands the game plan. He works well with catchers, and he’s got an advanced pitchability that not many guys have at his age. He’s going to be huge for us. I think he’s going to continue to fly under the radar, maybe for some time. But he’s fine with that. He’s as even-keeled and laid back as anybody you’ll meet, and I think that’s what makes him so good.”
Oh yeah, I picked Hendricks too.