Welcome back Jake Arrieta! The Cubs and Mr. Arrieta downed the Oakland Athletics 4-0 to extend their winning streak to six games. In a throwback game, it was fitting that Arrieta returned to form. Sure, it may have been a throwback of another era but the play on the mound was just like old the times of last year. It’s no secret that Arrieta had a rough July going 0-3 and making at least this Cubs fan, a little anxious about the pedigree of his 2015 Cy Young winning season but the stone faced hurler
“That was nice,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “He kept his command. He had two or three key pitches — the 3-0, 3-1 grounder where we didn’t get the double play and the 3-0 fly ball [to Khris Davis in the fourth]. Those were big pitches for him.”
The timing for Arrieta to regain his composure couldn’t be better as the Cubs’ 68 -41 record continues to dominate the majors and solidify their position as the best team in baseball.
“We’re having a nice stretch here,” Arrieta said. “It’s nice to have six in a row, but tomorrow it doesn’t matter.”
Today is a new day despite the Cubs winning 15 of their last 21 and the biggest surprise so far of the bottom half of the season is the return of Jorge Soler. It seemed too easy to write Soler off because of his injury but the hard hitting outfielder has effortlessly connected on almost everything he’s hit since his return. He homered on his first At Bat on Friday and yesterday collected an RBI.
“He always swings the bat well. His biggest obstacle is figuring out a way to stay on the field,” said Cubs starter Jon Lester, who picked up Friday’s win. “He’s young though, and any time he’s in our lineup he’s definitely a presence. I’m happy he’s back and helping us out.”
The versatility on the Cubs squad has proven to be their success this season with guys like Willson Contreras being able to play the outfield when called upon.
“He’s a good athlete,” Maddon said. “He runs well. If he played left field, even right field, all the time, he would be a very good outfielder.”
Today, the guy with the lowest home ERA with 1.19 takes to the mound to face the Athletics. Kyle Hendricks will try to stuff the ballot box when the Cy Young award is called out at the end of the season. Game time is 4.05 Eastern.