Chicago Cubs: Five potential heroes in the NL Wild Card game

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Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Arrieta

So this is where I get to the “some are more obvious than others” point. Arrieta has been flat-out dominant. He’s been an unstoppable force, and hopefully the voters recognize this and honor him with the NL Cy Young. Whoever takes second place can make the case they got shafted, but while I admit Zack Greinke has been good, Arrieta has been better.

When he made his scheduled start against the Pirates on Sept. 27, many wondered why Joe Maddon would throw him and give the team they would see in the Wild Card another look at him. The Bucs’ Andrew McCutchen echoed that prior to that game.

“We’ve faced him more than once, so regardless of tonight, it’s an advantage because we’ve faced him so much, It can be more of an advantage as opposed to a team outside our division so, yeah, that helps.”

But the outing may have had the opposite effect, as Arrieta threw seven innings of one-hit baseball and possibly made the Pirates think a little bit more about just how big an advantage they think it would be to see him again. Their numbers against him on the year? A .151 average with a .368 OPS–zero home runs. Arrieta himself hit .152 this season with two home runs. Advantage Arrieta.

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