#Cubs Arrieta goes for win vs Dodgers

Jake Arrieta gets the start Sunday night against the Dodgers in the series finale. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Denorfia RF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Castro 2B

Szczur LF

Montero C

Arrieta P

Russell 6

Arrieta enters his final August start 5-0 with a 0.54 ERA (2 ER/33 1/3 IP) and looks to match Boston’s Joe Kelly as the only two pitchers in baseball with six wins in August.

Arrieta is the fifth Cubs pitcher in the last 30 years to win five games in August, the first since Mark Prior in 2003.

Arrieta’s 0.54 ERA this month is the lowest by a qualifying Cubs pitcher since Guy Bush turned in a 0.17 ERA (1 ER/51 2/3 IP) in August 1926.

Starting June 21, Arrieta has gone 10-1 with a 1.17 ERA in 13 starts, the only 10-game winner in this span and matching Clayton Kershaw for the lowest ERA in the Majors in this stretch. His only loss came when the Cubs were no-hit by Cole Hamels on July 25.

22 Comments

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Aloha Folks- boy did the team need this win and the no-no from Arrieta is icing on the cake. I hope the other starters can get back to form as every game is crucial. Also, I think this is a pretty good team right now, so I trust Maddon will on only call up folks where he sees a need because it would be tough to change the chemistry of this current team and work in a negative way. I am sure he is giving it serious thought as to who comes up and how many come up. Go Cubbies! Mahalo!

k.g. – No-hitter on TV around the world, including here in Brazil. Wow! Hey, Cubs fans, your thoughts: Cut two games from the regular-season schedule and then make the wild card play-in best of three, with all games in the No. 1 wild card team’s park. Seems fairer than the current scheme.

I like it better than a one game “series” Bruce. Of course being a long suffering Cub fan I want all the chances we can get. A 7 game series in 1984 could have brought us a different history. Well, the Cubs will just have to win ONE game when the HAVE to…..arghhhhhhhh….

With Arrieta pitching that one game, I suggest fans will feel very confident we can win that game.

Jake would need to pitch a complete game as he did Sunday in the above scenario. All bets are off if the unreliable Cubs` bullpen becomes involved.

Aloha Bruce-fonzie-jhosk, I left another comment in regard to what is happening with this team, the bullpen and all these frenzied-late-trades which are not working out, better not to trade at all. Anyhow, I feel that the only one producing right now is Arrieta. When the last place team blows you out that is not a good sign. I wish Arrieta could pitch every 3rd day but he can’t. I had such hopes for the Arrieta-Hendricks-Wada lineup but it has not happened. Lester has shown moments of greatness but then implodes, not consistent yet, Haren is just giving up home run after home run. Then we have a bullpen that cannot hold the line. Hendricks did not pitch well today, let us be honest but he did give the team 5 innings and left with a lead, 5-3. The very next inning the bullpen coughs up 4 runs and the Reds never look back. As we all know it got worst, including defense. The Giants are coming together at the right time, made good trades and folks coming off of injuries. If this Cubs team is able to get to the playoffs via a WC, the management-FO has to make some big decisions as to who is part of that playoff roster and at this point I do not see Castro-La Stella-Haren-Hunter-Wood-Russell(pitcher)-possibly Hendricks too. I would rather have Baez who I know can play multiple positions very well and hopefully will hit too as well as to have CJ Edwards and Wada as part of the pitching staff. Heck let Albert Almora come up and give him some playing time. Also, Arrieta may have to come in for relief in the post-season like MadBum did last year depending on how far the team goes. Sorry for the frustration, this is the competitive-player side plus Cubs fan for 30+ years and many of you have had to endure much more than I. I hope the team can pick up tomorrow’s game. Mahalo.

Hey k.g. I understand and feel your frustration. Let us remember the big picture
(not Rick Rueschel, the big pitcher) and realize just short of calling this GOOD season a “bonus” it remains none the less a season of beyond expectations. With that said, I certainly believe once a team, EVEN OUR YOUNG CUBS TEAM smells blood in the water for a playoff berth it is the FO that should decisively put forth the 100% commitment to get that playoff berth. That was not done this season. The deadline trades for Harren & Hunter had band aide written all over it. Small risk, commendable effort but certainly spoke volumes regarding how “all in” the FO is for this season. They are not. Soriano? Rodney? Again, shot in the dark,
“might as well try’em” band aides. By no means am I disparaging the FO, on the contrary I am glad they did not trade the farm and go for it, risking what I believe will be THE major league roster for years to comes assembled next season. THE major league roster that will announce…THIS IS IT. I am enjoying this season immensely and will consider our Cubs “good enough” to capture the 2nd wild card spot and cheer them on to do so. But I will not beat up the FO for lack of a huge deal (that is coming this off season via trad or free agency) or get too down should they fall short. Even this playoff run is part of the growing pains needed to get next year’s team ready. I believe the FO’s “all in” decisive decision will come next year if (when) the Cubs find themselves in the playoff hunt again. Them being just a little trigger shy this year is understandable.

Good points, k.g. Grimm, Wood, Russell, and Castro disrespected `Do simple better` tonight. Our Cubs have much work still to do. I would be willing to pay dearly to see tomorrow night`s Dodgers/Giants contest because it`s Greinke vs. MadBum. Does not get any better than that matchup.

Aloha jhosk! Because I am in “Giant’s territory,” I cannot watch the game on MLB TV tomorrow! And it is on a certain channel that I do not get, so I will be listening to the radio! Tomorrow is a big game for the Giants and I know you LOVE Madbum; he just might hit a homer for you tomorrow! Take care now. Mahalo!

I hear you, k.g. I`ve heard it said Greinke is not shabby when it comes to providing offense also. I turned off last night`s Cubs` game when it became apparent we would be `blown out.` I did not know about Castro`s egregious error at second when he `missed` Addison`s simple toss until I saw the `lowlight` on today`s MLB `Quick Pitch.` When it first transpired the, Cincy broadcaster assumed the ball must have struck the baserunner, Then the replay clearly showed Starlin just `missed` it. Little Leaguers make that kind of mistake; not major leaguers. You recall the adage that `when athletes play out of position, the ball will find you and you will be exposed.` I suggest that is what we saw last night with Starlin`s three errors. Oh wait! I just remembered something. Even when Starlin has played his natural position at short, he`s committed a ton of errors there too.

jhosk, it is clear you have seen enough of Castro? My jury is still out on him despite his errors, lack of concentration and anemic offense in 2015. Gee, I just convinced myself to change my mind! You bring up a good point regarding a player being out of position. The question is, what is Castro’s position on this team? Will they now try him at 3B and move Bryant to RF to fill the void left by Soler’s DL stint? Castro at 3B takes him out of the plays and pivots of a middle infielder turning a double play. He would only have to field and throw as a third baseman when involved in a double play (for the most part), reducing his exposure and reducing his chance of committing an error. I am not sure if the FO deems Castro worth the move to 3B considering he will be removed once Soler returns. It’s just a thought for the present circumstances. Although I have not given up entirely on Castro it appears if he does indeed rebound….it will more than likely be on another team. This roster seems well on it’s way to being set for years….without Castro. A nod to the new FO’s job well done I might add.

I will answer you this way, fonzie. As I`ve suggested in the past, Joe Maddon has the reputation and history of playing athletes who actually perform and produce, and benching those who do not. All other circumstances are irrelevant in the skipper`s eyes, including a given player`s contract and any expectations the FO and fans may have of that player. For Joe to be consistent, I would expect him to indeed `bench` Starlin once again. Starlin is a major embarrassment to, not just the Cubs, but the game itself. One does not need to be a Mensa candidate to comprehend why Starlin has zero trade value. He`s the antithesis of `Do simple better.`

Understood jhosk. I would not argue your point. Should that be the case do you not think it would have been better to get it over and done with a while ago so that Maddon could have assembled a potential play off roster sooner than the September first call up? The FO found no takers for Castro, what were they to do? Release him as they did the more wasteful and harmful Jackson? Having him on the roster will still handcuff Maddon even if Castro is benched. Can you imagine the thin bench as it is going into the playoffs with the less than average hitting Castro and the absolutely offensively worthless Ross? No thunder off the bench with those two but at least Ross can be considered a valuable defensive replacement during the playoffs. Right now we take Baez and his AAA stats along with his defense over Castro hands down, right? But, what to do with Castro???

I do not have a solution to the Castro conundrum, fonzie. I`m sure his apologists will be more than eager to supply one. I do know the manager is obligated to put those players in the lineup who give the club the best chance of winning on that particular day. Yes, Ross is `offensively challenged,` but he is necessary on those days Lester starts. We saw that in the recent game at Dodger Stadium when Ross was not available and Montero caught Jon. There were several instances when the battery was not `on the same page,` and the team suffered because of it. I recall one `ab` by Ellis in particular. He was the lead off batter in that inning. Lester had him in an 0-2 count and then served up a slow curve over the heart of the plate which you and I may have had a legitimate shot at lacing for a knock, which, of course, Ellis did, and it led to a productive Dodger inning. (Vin Scully observed how that pitch had to have been a mistake, and an example of miscommunication between pitcher and backstop.) The successful Dodger base stealers in that game also would have been more challenged had Ross been the catcher, one could argue.

Jhosk, you can argue all you want about the benefits of having Ross catch Lester…and I would agree! However admittedly beneficial Ross is for his defense or for “completing” Lester the fact remains he is for the most part a bench player, in fact a very limited role player tied at the hip to Lester. I do not mind Lester is on THIS year’s roster. I will not like him on next year’s roster when things get more serious and a bat off the bench can be more crucial. Although I was happy to see the Cubs sign Lester, at the time it was not widely announced that Ross MUST accompany Lester to the Cubs for TWO years, if so I would have THEN been less thrilled with the Lester signing. I thought at the time, Ross was signed just as a general, all purpose back up to Montero, not Lester’s must have receiver. Ross’s days with the Cubs are numbered and if Lester remains such a high maintenance pitcher our Cubs will be in trouble as he ages, loses his soul mate catcher and must throw to Schwarber? Will Schwarber be able to complete Lester as does Ross?
Will yet another catcher be brought in continuing the cycle just to bring out the best from Lester creating yet another possible roster issue (3 catchers)?
Once Ross is gone Lester will be under the microscope with us fans who will expect him to “deal with it” (the loss of Ross…has a nice ring to it don’t you think?) and start dealing on the mound to several different catchers if need be. Who got most of the credit for Arietta’s no no? Montero? I think not. Some, yes. Most? No. The Cubs FO has already made it clear: Jon Lester cannot possibly pitch to his fullest potential without Ross…let’s sign him long term anyway? At this point and the mediocrity we have received from the Lester/Ross tandem this season I would take my chances during the play offs without both Castro and Ross, replacing them with players that could give Maddon an all around better chance of winning a game. i.e. pinch hitters, pinch runners, skilled bunters, defensive studs etc. none of which you will find on a Castro or Ross resume. With Castro you get ocassional hitting, with Ross you get good defense, nothing else.Translation? Handicaps. But to be clear to those thinking I am a Ross basher….I may be but I am still sane enough to understand if I had to choose one player or the other for a play off series? Hands down I would choose Ross over Castro. I hope this is not 2016’s issue too.

And to think, even with the handicap of Ross and Castro, the Cubs made it to a high of 22 games over 500.
What the hell is Management thinking? LMAO

Right Jasper, I too may hurt myself LMAO. It is an astounding accomplishment for the Cubs to be so many games over .500 with Castro having such a poor year and Ross being such a non-existent hitter. Hat’s off to management not so much for having a roster with the two talent limited players but for snagging Maddon when they had the chance and acquiring and promoting such young talent as Bryant, Russell and Schwarber. Trusting the FO is a no brainer if there ever was one. Maddon figured it out despite Castro and Ross and utilized their limited talent to best advantage. Whatever will we do when Lester throws to Notross??
No worries, Maddon will figure out that “problem” as well. LMAO.

I hear you regarding Lester and Ross, fonzie. Trust me. I had no clue when we signed Lester that the deal involved caveats, namely that the `offensively challenged` Ross would be required as Jon`s battery mate in most games Jon worked, and that Lester would `absolutely hate` to throw to bases in order to hold runners. Had I known these things, I would have bypassed Jon Lester. I have the suspicion that, had Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer known these identical issues, it very well have given them pause, as well. Most `insiders` were blindsided by the Lester reluctance to throw to bases issue, I`ve heard said. Since Lester is signed to a six year contract, it is not unreasonable for Cubs` fans to expect the pitcher to seriously search for a solution to the issue in the off- season, even if it means `seeing a shrink.` I`m confident he can afford to pay for the sessions, no matter how many are necessary. (Smiling)

I intended to include something very important in my above post. When you referenced Jon Lester as `high maintenance,` fonzie, you nailed it.

You gents can relax after SEP, next year Lester will just be an overpaid 3rd starter. Now what are your expectations of a 3rd starter, that’s the huge question. Of course, Lester will just be one of the guys as a 3rd stringer.
We already know your expectations of a 2nd string Catcher. Hopefully the Cubs have a 2nd stringer in the Minors that can make the All Star Team next year.

I already am entering my pre-2016 relaxation mode anticipating the last year of Ross’s contract, his possible ascension to a coaching position (his most value) and Lester’s demotion to number three starter. We all know this is coming, no breaking news here. I’ve posted before that when Lester becomes the third starter (over paid being irrelevant to most of us fans) then the Cubs will be talking NLC crowns and post seasons as do the Cardinals year after year. Lester IS high maintenance (thanks for the nod jhosk) but certainly a very good pitcher and he will make for a very formidable #3 next season and beyond. Without Ross, Maddon will have to work his mojo and massage Lester into 7+ innings per start and circumvent his throwing to first deficiencies. Whoever will be catching Lester next year (Ross will be so much older…?) or after next year will have to step up their game but not necessarily be of All Star caliber stuff, after all Lester is just one of five starting pitchers and thankfully the only one with personal catcher and throwing issues. Maddon and the Cubs will be just fine and more than likely better off with Ross gone, Lester #3 and an added #1 or #2 SP such as David Price. I’ll risk the “loss of Ross” and move on to the remaining 4 years of Lester’s contract without blinking, as long as that front line SP is added that is.

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