For the Chicago Cubs to bring home the Commissioner’s Trophy this year, they will need their reigning Cy Young winner to pitch like he did when he took home the award in historic fashion.
And to do it at Wrigley Field, they need to take one of the first two games in Cleveland. Starting Chicago Cubs’ righty Jake Arrieta behind postseason workhorse Jon Lester is a powerful attempt to do so.
Arrieta last pitched on October 18th, Game 3 of the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He threw five innings, giving up four earned runs on six hits, two of which were home runs. Arrieta threw a season-low 83 pitches and tied a season-low in groundball outs with four.
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This season, including the playoffs, Arrieta is 7-5 with a 2.93 ERA when he gives up more pop-fly outs than groundball outs. He gave up 12 fly ball outs to Los Angeles.
The disparity between groundball and fly ball outs speak to Arrieta’s lack of sharpness in road games.
He threw 11 of his career-high 16 wild pitches at home, but Arrieta drilled four more batters on the road than at home.
Better At Home?
Opponents hit Arrieta better on the road. Collectively, they recorded a .203/.333/.608 slash line, hitting 10 of Arrieta’s 16 total home runs given up during the regular season.
During the regular season, Arrieta went 11-3 with a 3.59 ERA and a 6.9 K/9 on the road. In the playoffs, he’s averaging 8.25 K/9 on the road in 11 innings pitched over two starts.
Hendricks has been the silent stud in Chicago’s starting five all year, which earned him the second spot in the rotation for the first two playoff rounds. The Cubs opened with the first two games at home in each series, where Hendricks has been nothing short of stellar
He only lost two decisions at home all year, and never game up more than three earned runs in any start. In 95 1/3 innings during the regular season, he collected a 0.860 WHIP, an 8.4 K/9, and a 6.37 K/BB.
Hendricks held opponents to a .201/.279/.589 slash line at Wrigley Field, and recorded a 1.32 ERA in the process. Chicago is 9-5 in home games behind Hendricks and 11-5 in road games where Arrieta starts.