By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — The numbers are there, but the name recognition isn’t for Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta to be your 2015 National League Cy Young Award winner. At the very least, he’s made people pay attention to this special season he has put together in Chicago.READ MORE: Stimulus Check Update: When Might Your $1,400 Economic Relief Payment Arrive?
After last Sunday’s no-hitter against the Dodgers, Arrieta fired eight innings of shutout ball in a 2-0 win against the Diamondbacks on Saturday at Wrigley Field. In allowing four hits, it may have seem a bit anti-climatic for the team’s ace.
Arrieta leads all of baseball with the 18 wins, but he’s light years away from the sexy twosome of Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers when it comes to being noticed on the national scene. Still, after not allowing an earned run in his last 29 innings, he has picked up many fans along the way.
“It means you’re doing something right,” Arrieta said after his team’s 2-0 win. “It is a good thing, and all of that stuff is great. At the end of the day if we do things in the playoffs, that is an even greater sense of accomplishment as a team. That is what we are all focused on.”
Throwing a no-hitter against the Dodgers on a national telecast last week opened some eyes, as he dominated the best team in the NL West. The numbers that stand out the most for Arrieta is 8-1. That’s his record in starts after Cubs losses this season. The true sign of an ace is going out and putting the end to a losing streak. No one has been better than Arrieta in this department.
“When you break him down right now, and I know this is his manager talking, there is good competition and interesting to watch, I think our guy is right at the top,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.READ MORE: COVID-19 In Illinois: 1,182 New Coronavirus Cases, 5 More Deaths; Lowest One-Day Death Toll Since September
Greinke’s ERA of 1.59 is a number that can’t be ignored. That’s nearly half a run better than Arrieta, who’s second in the league with a 2.03 ERA. Greinke also boasts a 15-3 record and has held opponents to a.189 batting average. If voting was done today, he would win the award.
Kershaw has also had a fabulous season and been awesome since mid-May. He’s 12-6 with a 2.18 ERA and 0.90 WHIP.
In Chicago, it’s hard to remember a more dominant season of pitching since Mark Prior won 18 games for the 2003 team. Prior won seven straight starts late that summer, something Arrieta accomplished on Saturday.
On Saturday, the Diamondbacks got two hits with two outs in the first inning. That took away the suspense of his last outing and required that he bear down at the onset of the game.
“As the game wore on, I started to mix some things up,” Arrieta said. “I used some different sequences. I used the change-up quite a bit. It is something I work on, so when the time comes I will have a good feel for it to use it I was able to use it for all three outs in the third or fourth inning.”
That’s a reflection of how good Arrieta has been. He doesn’t even use all of his pitches when he has his power game working on all cylinders. He’s coming hard for the award given to the league’s top pitcher.MORE NEWS: Park District Spring Program Sign Up Starts Monday
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.