Chicago Cubs: Top 10 single-season pitching performances (Part II)

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 18: Jake Arrieta #49 of the Chicago Cubs receives a standing ovation after being relieved in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game four of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field on October 18, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 18: Jake Arrieta #49 of the Chicago Cubs receives a standing ovation after being relieved in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game four of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field on October 18, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs’ Jake Arrieta: 2015

The trade which started it all. Okay well, not exactly, but close. It was in 2013 that everything changed: the day Jake Arrieta became a member of the Chicago Cubs. A trade which will live in infamy. The first few years of Arrieta’s career in Chicago were solid. In his debut year for the Cubs, he started just nine games, posting a 3.66 ERA. Arrieta built on it the following season, posting an outstanding 2.53 ERA in 25 starts.

Then 2015 happened, and my goodness was it glorious. Not only did Arrieta see his number of starts increase, but he also posted the best season of his career to date. In a season filled with many ups, Arrieta stood strong finishing 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA en route to a much deserved National League Cy Young award. His season was so good that Arrieta finished sixth overall in the MVP race.

Arrieta did a great job in many categories. He finished with an excellent 2.35 FIP and 2.61 xFIP, respectively. Lastly, Arrieta finished with a 7.0 fWAR, which was second behind only Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. To boot, in the 229 innings Arrieta pitched, he allowed just ten home runs.

While the strikeout rate was decent, it was nothing to write home about. The walk rate, however, ended up being a career low for Arrieta. He also held opposing hitters to a .184 clip, and a .246 BABIP.

Diving into Arrieta’s campaign, the most impressive aspect was his second half and how he was nearly unhittable. From July 12 to October 2, Arrieta made 16 starts. He posted the following line: 15-1, 0.77 ERA, three complete games, a .143 batting average against, two home runs allowed, and 122 strikeouts.

In his four total complete games, Arrieta allowed a single earned run in 36 innings, striking out 39 batters, walking two, and allowing nine hits. On August 30, Arrieta threw his best game of the year, completing a no-hitter versus the Los Angeles Dodgers on the road in grand fashion. It summed up how the season progressed for Arrieta.

After the Cubs clinched a berth in the Wild Card game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Arrieta received the call and did not let the Wrigley faithful down. He spun an absolute gem, twirling a complete game shutout with 11 strikeouts to send the Cubs onto the Division series. He earned a Game 3 win versus St. Louis in the NLDS before succumbing to misfortune against the New York Mets. By the end of it all, Arrieta had finished with a respectable 3.66 ERA.

No matter the fact that Arrieta is gone, he will always be a part of Chicago. He helped as a transformative piece, bring hope to a city void of a championship. And for that, the Windy City will always be grateful for Arrieta, and his 2015 season.

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