Chicago Cubs: Maddon names Jake Arrieta the Cubs’ Opening Night starter
Chicago Cubs skipper Joe Maddon didn’t waste any time in naming his Opening Night starter and it shouldn’t come as a surprise to fans. With the Cubs looking to prove that last season was no fluke, the man who will be taking the mound to begin the year is aiming to do the same.
On Monday, Apr. 4, the Chicago Cubs will be in Los Angeles to take on Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels to kick-off the 2016 campaign.
And while Jon Lester took the mound on Opening Day for the Cubs against the St. Louis Cardinals in 2015, skipper Joe Maddon opted to take a different route this time around. Which doesn’t necessarily come across as a surprise and Lester is all for.
When it comes to this starting rotation, Maddon has three men who are more than worthy to take the bump in the first game of the season. Veteran right-hander John Lackey pitched extremely well for the Redbirds last season and led them to the postseason after Adam Wainwright fell to a season-ending injury early on.
More from Chicago Cubs News
- Cubs: Adrian Sampson is forcing his way into the conversation
- Projecting the Chicago Cubs bullpen to open the 2023 season
- Cubs fans are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel
- Justin Steele has evolved into a frontline starter for the Cubs
- The future of first base is murky right now for the Cubs
Now according to the Chicago Cubs official twitter handle, reigning National League Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta has received the nod from his skipper to help start things off with a bang.
Arrieta, soon-to-be 30-years-old, finished the 2015 campaign with a 22-6 record, 236/48 K/BB ratio, 0.86 WHIP. 8.6 WAR, 45 earned runs and an impressive 1.77 earned run average through 229 innings of work.
His arm, however, appeared to be a little worn out after advancing past the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Wild Card game. He worked nine scoreless innings against the Bucs, holding them to five hits while striking out 11 batters behind 113 pitches.
Chicago’s defense made some spectacular plays behind him to help the Cubs set a date with the Cardinals for the first time in postseason history. And everything took off from there — especially their bats.
"“He’s very excited about it. He’s earned that right to be named that particular opening day starter. If you’re a starting pitcher, it really carries a lot of prestige along with it. He’s earned it. We’re very pleased to be able to announce it.” – Maddon via Chicago Tribune"
Following that shut out victory, the 29-year-old right-hander was tagged for a combined eight runs on nine hits and two homers across 10 2/3 frames between the Cardinals and the National League winning New York Mets.
During the Cubs Convention in January, Arrieta commented on having all those innings under his belt and is prepared to continue to carry most of the workload this season. This was before he agreed to a brand new one-year, $10.7 million contract just days before his arbitration hearing.
Now wake me up in about a month.