Chicago Cubs: Jake Arrieta back as huge series looms

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 29: Starting pitcher Jake Arrieta
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 29: Starting pitcher Jake Arrieta /

Jake Arrieta makes his return off the DL for the Chicago Cubs Thursday, just in time for a critical four-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Chicago Cubs saw their seven-game winning streak halted Wednesday night against the Tampa Bay Rays. Fortunately for the Cubs, the Milwaukee Brewers also lost.

Couple that with Jake Arrieta (14-9, 3.48 ERA) back on the mound against the Brewers Thursday for the start of a critical four-game series from Miller Park.

Thursday’s probables

Arrieta was strong before going down with a hamstring injury on Labor Day in Pittsburgh after going 4-1 with a 1.21 ERA in August. The Cubs are hoping they have that Arrieta Thursday night.

Said Joe Maddon on Arrieta:

"“Jake passed all the tests so he’s ready to roll. We’ll probably have to have some kind of [pitch count] limit on him. Everything looks like it’s in good shape.”More from Chicago Cubs NewsCubs: Adrian Sampson is forcing his way into the conversationProjecting the Chicago Cubs bullpen to open the 2023 seasonCubs fans are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnelJustin Steele has evolved into a frontline starter for the CubsThe future of first base is murky right now for the Cubs"

In two starts against the Brewers, Arrieta is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA and has scattered just three runs over 13 innings.

Zach Davies (17-9, 3.89 ERA) will make the start for Milwaukee.

In Davies’ most recent outing against the Marlins Sep. 16, he went four innings and took the loss. In that contest, he was saddled for six runs on eight hits. After a solid August in which he went 4-2 with a 2.06 ERA, Davies is 1-2 with a 4.32 ERA in three September starts.

However, over his past 16 starts, he is 10-5 with a 2.74 ERA. Davies’ lone win of the month came Sep. 10 against the Cubs, when he allowed one ER over seven innings.

Overall against the Cubs he is 2-2 with a 3.96 ERA.

Monster mash

In six games Kris Bryant has crushed the ball in Milwaukee slashing .480/.552/.720, and Addison Russell enters play hitting .348 there. Eric Thames has hit 20 home runs at Miller Park.

With the Cubs’ magic number to clinch the division down to eight, a sweep would mean Chicago could clinch the Central as early as Sunday, but of course, that won’t be easy.

Milwaukee enters tonight winning 12 of their past 16 at home.

Next: Team is better with Addison Russell at shortstop

What’s next

Friday’s matchup between the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers pits John Lackey (11-11, 4.62 ERA) against Brandon Woodruff (2-2, 3.28 ERA).

First pitch set for 6:35 pm C.T. from Miller Park.