(CBS) As of early Thursday afternoon, Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta was unsure of whether he’ll make his schedule start in the team’s regular-season finale.
He just knows that, as he continues to work back to top form after suffering right hamstring strain in early September, being at full strength for his first playoff start is the most important goal. And to accomplish that, rest will be crucial, Arrieta said.
“I feel pretty good,” Arrieta said Thursday on the Bernstein and Goff Show on 670 The Score. “I think that just my desire to get back on the field as quick as I possibly could might not have been the smartest thing. I might have come back a little early, a little premature, but I wanted to be out there and help us in any way I could, especially at the time when we hadn’t cemented our spot in the postseason yet. I wanted to do everything in my power to contribute to that. But I’m OK. I’ve had to alter my effort level out there. It’s actually been a good thing. It’s allowed me to really get through my delivery and finish my pitches. I just haven’t had the drive off my back side like I normally do.
“It’s actually going to be nice to take some time. I’m not exactly sure how we’re going to approach Sunday yet, if I’m maybe going to make that start. But I think the biggest thing is just to get the rest I need for the playoff start.”
Arrieta (14-10, 3.53 ERA) has made two starts since coming back from injury. He threw five innings of one-run ball his first time out but went just three innings and 67 pitches in a loss at St. Louis on Tuesday, when he didn’t look like himself.
The Cubs open the playoffs against the Nationals on Oct. 6. The team hasn’t announced its postseason rotation yet.
“If there’s any chance of putting it in jeopardy, I mean there’s no reason to go out there,” Arrieta said of Sunday. “We’ve talked about getting off the mound in a more controlled setting, possibly doing some sort of sim game or just a couple bullpens. I really think that’s probably the ideal situation. Any time you’re in a game and get a hitter in the box, you’re going to compete, and it’s hard to control your effort, especially when you’re not 100 percent.”