Chicago Cubs: Jake Arrieta made his final statement for NL Cy Young


With his second half, Jake Arrieta has made his claim to the NL Cy Young. Now it’s up to the voters to not screw it up

The Chicago Cubs are having a season to remember. Hopefully the first in a line of years like this. But Jake Arrieta is having a season that we won’t soon forget, and his name in the record books should assure that. Arrieta wasn’t having a bad year before the incredible second half run. It was acceptable. A 6-5 record with an ERA in the mid-3.00 range. But down the stretch, when the games started to mean even more? He did exactly what you need your ace to do. Win. 

The voters will have to decide between Arrieta and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Zack Greinke. Clayton Kershaw will get a few votes, and any other season might have won with the numbers he has. But not this year. Not with the other two doing what they’ve done. How good has Arrieta been? He finished the season on a 22-inning scoreless streak. Although a shorter outing for obvious reason, he kept his quality start streak intact at 20. He set a Major League record with the lowest second-half ERA in history with a 0.75. He finished 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA, and in those final 20 quality starts? 16-1 with a 0.86 ERA.

By the way, his last loss was to the Phillies. It took a Cole Hamels no-hitter. That’s how good he’s been.

Arrieta showed glimpses of this potential since the Cubs acquired him two years ago. The stuff was never the question. The results just didn’t reflect it. In Chicago, he’s thrived and has become THE best pitcher in baseball. Dale Sveum saw it. Arrieta’s first manager when he arrived in Chicago in 2013, he knew what the Cubs got.

"“That was one of those things like ‘wow, how could someone give that up?’” Sveum said before the Cubs played the Royals. “We got something pretty special here.”"

Last season Arrieta flirted with no-hitter’s on a regular basis. It seemed every time out he would push just a little deeper into the game. This year he finally broke through. And not against a cellar-dweller but the Dodgers. A solid team–and of course his biggest competition for the award got a front row seat to it.

Greinke will get his “rebuttal” in his final start today, and skipper Don Mattingly said he won’t be restricted in any way. No pitch count, inning limit, etc. So Greinke will get a chance to put a final impression in the eyes of the voters. 

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He sits at 18-3 with a 1.68 ERA. Anything less than a quality start and that ERA that seemed to be the reason he was a “shoe-in” for the award could end up right about where Jake is at. You could say he was more important because he led his team to a division title. Hmm, Cubs won more game–and had to play more against the best division in baseball to do it.

Personal opinion? Kudos to Greinke on a great season, but this is Arrieta’s award. Fans and coaches already botched not having him as an All-Star. Let’s see if the voters can get this one right and prove many people wrong that believe there is a West Coast bias.

Next: Who would take the ball after Arrieta and Lester?