Chicago Cubs News

Chicago Cubs lean on Jake Arrieta to even the score against Cards

Mar 23, 2017; Salt River Pima-Maricopa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta (49) throws in the first inning during a spring training game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 23, 2017; Salt River Pima-Maricopa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta (49) throws in the first inning during a spring training game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Chicago Cubs started off the season with a loss following a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth. Tonight, they have the opportunity to tie this early three-game set at Busch Stadium.

Yesterday felt like the longest off-day ever. However, it’s finally time for the Chicago Cubs to get back to work. With one game in the books, Joe Maddon and the Cubs find themselves behind the 1-0 Cardinals.

This just so happens to be the first time the Cubs haven’t been in first place in nearly a year. Remember, this club got off to a hot start last season and spent nearly 95 percent of the season atop the division.

But they are not the only ones looking up. On Monday, the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers all suffered losses. The Cubs (0-1) will travel to Milwaukee this weekend but we’ll save that for another time.

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Moving onto tonight’s action. Taking the mound for the defending World Series champions will be the veteran right-hander, Jake Arrieta. Arrieta (0-0, 0.00 ERA), following his magical 2015 campaign, sparked Chicago’s early surge last April.

In his fourth start of the season, Arrieta pitched his second career no-hitter while visiting the Cincinnati Reds. Chicago provided some serious run support that night, putting up 16 runs while Jake blanked Cincinnati hitters.

Consistency

He later hit a brick wall, battling consistency issues throughout late June, early July and mid-August. When it was time for the postseason, Arrieta suffered only one loss coming at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Maddon’s right-hander gave up four earned runs on six hits including two big flies – all within five innings of work. Jake managed to buckle down following the loss. Now, Arrieta started only four games against the Cardinals in 2016.

Throughout those four starts, he yielded a combined six earned runs on 20 hits and two home runs. In addition to those stats, he struck out 26 Cardinals and issued only eight free passes.

Another Year

Tonight, Mike Matheny will match him up against his tall right-hander, Adam Wainwright. Wainwright (0-0, 0.00 ERA) finally returned to the Cardinals rotation in 2016 due to his season-ending injury in April of 2015.

Entering his 12th season with the St. Louis Cardinals, Wainwright is looking to get back to ace form as well. Here is a man who is only 13 strikeouts away from reaching 1,500 in his career. Yet, still long ways from reaching Cardinals’ great, Bob Gibson who struck out a staggering 3,117 in 528 games.

His move from the bullpen to the rotation in 2016 was somewhat of a disappointment as he surrendered a massive career-high of 102 earned runs. Approximately 13 of those runs were delivered by the Chicago Cubs in three starts.

Next: Heyward pressing through while struggling

As for tonight, which one of these men will come out on top? Since 2015, these two have been looking to return to ace form.

First pitch for tonight’s contest is set for 7:15 p.m. CT. You can watch this game live on CSN+ or MLB Network for those who live out of market. Also, Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer will be calling the action on WSCR 670 AM.

Here is a look at the starting lineup for both clubs:

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