9/19 Cubs 5, Brewers 1

Jake Arrieta’s extended audition for the Cubs’ 2014 rotation went very well Thursday. Nate Schierholtz hit a two-run homer and Luis Valbuena and Brian Bogusevic each added solo shots to back Arrieta, who gave up three hits over seven innings in the Cubs’ 5-1 victory over the Brewers at Miller Park, snapping a five-game losing streak.

Acquired from the Orioles in July in the Scott Feldman deal, Arrieta walked leadoff batter Norichika Aoki, then retired 11 straight before Aramis Ramirez singled with two outs in the fourth. The right-hander retired the next seven batters he faced before Carlos Gomez spoiled the shutout bid with a leadoff home run in the seventh on an 0-1 pitch. Two outs later, Jeff Bianchi doubled for the third hit off Arrieta.

“Everything was working really really well,” Dale Sveum said of the outing by Arrieta. “He hung one cutter to Gomez, but other than that, there was weak contact. … That was a pretty impressive outing.”

This was Arrieta’s eighth start with the Cubs, and it was his longest outing since he threw seven shutout innings against the Cardinals on Aug. 16.

“He was throwing filthy stuff,” Gomez said of the right-hander. “The fastball was explosive, had good sink. He commanded the curve really good. He’s got good stuff. I don’t know why he was never more successful most of his career. This guy’s going to be good.”

The emphasis was on keeping the ball down and having command of his pitches.

“I told [pitching coach Chris Bosio] after the game, I feel like I just threw my pre-game ‘pen, and I could’ve gone another 100 pitches, that’s how good I felt today as far as controling the game and my effort,” Arrieta said.

The knock on the right-hander has been a lack of command but he not only showed he could control his cutter/slider and two-seam fastball but also had a good curveball.

“You have to get that [command] established as early as possible and not allow hitters to eliminate pitches and today they weren’t able to do that,” Arrieta said. “You saw a lot of below average swings and a lot of guys were just off balance and not able to anticipate what I was coming at them with. That’s one of the big things I have to do as a starter to try to pitch deep in the games is keep them off balance and get them to pitch to contact early.”

– Carrie Muskat

1 Comment

Sometimes coaches and managers have to listen to their players. I’m surprised that Arrieta was pulled with the stuff he was displaying. I suspect that Sveum wanted to see if Strops could hold the line and almost blew it for experimenting. It would have been a milestone to have let Arrieta finish out with a complete game. So now we wait until the end of the season to see the shuffle.

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