The Chicago Cubs just might have something in Jake Arrieta. On Friday night, he tossed seven shutout innings and picked up the win in a 7-0 Cubs victory over the rival St. Louis Cardinals. He only allowed two hits, two walks and struck-out seven batters. If he wants to win over Cubs fans, a dominant performance against the Cardinals is a good start.
Arrieta’s fastball was sitting in the mid-90s and was clocked as high as 97 mph. He also mixed in a nice cutter and change-up. His stuff looks fantastic and I am very encouraged from what he has shown so far.
Arrieta has always had nasty stuff, but he fell out of favor with the Baltimore Orioles because he struggled with his command. Before being traded to the Cubs in early July, Arrieta had given up 6.5 BB/9 in five starts with the Orioles. You cannot walk that many batters in the major leagues and expect to keep your job.
Friday night was Arrieta’s second start with the Cubs. On July 31, he pitched six innings against the Milwaukee Brewers and only allowed one run. He is now 1-0 with a 0.69 ERA in two incredible starts with the Cubs. So far so good, as it appears that the Cubs are ready to give him a chance to prove himself at the major league level for the rest of the season.
As long as he can keep his walks down the rest of the way, I think that the 27-year old righty has a good shot to be in the rotation at the start of the 2014 season. He is a guy with massive upside that could be a part of the team for years. The Cubs took a chance on Arrieta knowing that he has the stuff to get the job done. I think a change of scenery did wonders for him and he is now part of an organization that has complete confidence in his abilities.
The Cubs lack elite young pitching in the minors, so Arrieta really has a chance to cement his spot on this team for many years to come. Hopefully, he takes this opportunity and runs with it. The potential is there and he has shown flashes of brilliance — Arrieta is definitely one of the most interesting guys to watch the rest of the way.