Chicago Cubs: Weekend showdown with Milwaukee will decide Central
By Jake Misener
Chicago Cubs: Jake Arrieta makes his return to the mound
On September 4, Arrieta left his start against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ever since dominating the Bucs in the National League Wild Card game in 2015, the right-hander seemed to always turn in good outings against Pittsburgh.
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But, this time around, he failed to make it through the third. He allowed three earned runs in just 2 1/3 innings of work before leaving with a hamstring injury. At first labeled cramping, the injury proved more serious and cost him two-plus weeks of September.
Prior to his injury, Arrieta was masterful. In the month of July, he pitched to a 2.25 ERA in five starts. He followed that up with a 1.21 earned run average in August, netting him NL Pitcher of the Month honors.
So, naturally, injury strikes. By contrast, Jon Lester returned from injury – and has not been the same guy. More than anything, he has struggled with locating pitches effectively. In the heat of a division race, the Cubs need their starting arms locked and loaded to put this thing away.
Working on a limited pitch count, Jake Arrieta won’t go the distance on Thursday. But if he can limit the Brewers’ offense and give the bats a chance, the Chicago Cubs could end their losing streak against Milwaukee in a big way.