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Arrieta, 28, missed the season’s first month with an injury, but never missed a beat from there on out. He finished the year at 10-5 with a 2.53 ERA in 25 starts, spearheading a starting rotation with an overabundance of youth.
After posting a 3.20 ERA in five starts in the month of May, the former Baltimore Orioles prospect hit his stride, going 4-0 with a 0.92 ERA across 39 1/3 innings. During that stretch, Arrieta’s WHIP of 0.686 and strikeout-to-walk ratio of 8 were among the best in all of baseball.
On several occasions, the righty flirted with history, taking no-hit bids into the late innings three times during the season, while emerging as the Cubs’ undisputed ace following the trade of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Oakland Athletics on July 4 weekend.
At the mid-season point, Arrieta was 5-1 with a 1.95 earned run average in 13 starts spanning 78 1/3 innings – although he did not earn a spot on the National League All-Star Team. His numbers declined during the second half, namely in the month of August, when he limped to a 5.23 ERA in 30 1/3 innings. However, in September, the right-hander was among the best in baseball, making four starts in which he went undefeated with a 0.95 ERA.
While his role with the 2015 Cubs rotation remains unclear given the team’s oft-rumored ties to several front-of-the-rotation arms this offseason, but one thing is for sure: Arrieta will be an integral piece of the club’s staff moving forward after the best season of his still-young career in 2014.