The Cubs announced prior to Wednesday’s finale with the Reds that Jake Arrieta would be recalled from Triple-A Iowa and start Friday’s opener against the Cardinals. Arrieta has been pitching in Iowa’s rotation since the Cubs acquired him, along with Pedro Strop, from the Orioles last month for Scott Feldman.
Arrieta posted a 2-2 record in seven starts with the I-Cubs. In 30 1/3 innings, Arrieta allowed 16 runs, 12 earned, on 32 hits with 16 walks and 39 strikeouts (3.56 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP). Arrieta was called up on July 30 to start the second game of the doubleheader against the Brewers and was rather impressive. Arrieta allowed one run on two hits with three walks and two strikeouts in six innings. Arrieta settled down nicely after a rough first inning and showed why he was the Opening Day starter for the Orioles just a year ago.
Arrieta has a big arm and the stuff to be a frontline big league starter but he has yet to put it all together. The Cubs viewed him as a change of scenery guy when they acquired him from Baltimore and Arrieta is viewing the trade as a way to start fresh with a new organization. Arrieta throws very hard and has swing and miss stuff. Command has been Arrieta’s undoing in the past and if he can keep it together and throw enough strikes, the Cubs could have another power arm in their rotation moving forward. The Cubs plan to leave Arrieta in the rotation for the remainder of the season so they can get more than just a September look at him.
To make room in the rotation, the Cubs sent Carlos Villanueva back to the bullpen.
Jake Arrieta, Travis Wood and Edwin Jackson will start the three games against the Cardinals. Jeff Samardzija and Chris Rusin will get the ball for the first two games of the Nationals series. So for now, the Cubs rotation moving forward is Jake Arrieta, Travis Wood, Edwin Jackson, Jeff Samardzija and Chris Rusin. Now, if the Cubs could score some runs the end of his season would be much better than a year ago.
The Cubs will have to send out a reliever to make room on the active roster for Arrieta prior to Friday’s game. The two candidates would be Eduardo Sanchez and Michael Bowden, with Sanchez the more likely of the two on the way to Iowa.
Even with his recent struggles and inconsistency, the Cubs still feel Jeff Samardzija is a part of the big picture moving forward. And according to a report from Comcast SportsNet, his last seven or eight starts of the season “will help frame” a potential long term deal with Samardzija.
Theo Epstein said that Jeff Samardzija has been a big part of the Cubs’ plans and they want him to “grow as a pitcher and develop consistency, the last remaining hurdle.”
Epstein pointed out that Samardzija has “tremendous stuff” and “tremendous makeup.” Epstein thinks that consistency is “the only thing from preventing him from being the pitcher we think he can be.”
Joey Votto told the Sun-Times, “Off all the right-handers, I’d say Jeff Samardzija is probably in the first three, four or five in terms of stuff. To me, he’s in that Matt Harvey, Stephen Strasburg category in terms of just raw stuff. The rest is up to him.”
The Cubs would like to see him cut down on his walks which will allow him to pitch deeper into games without increasing his pitch count. Samardzija realizes what he needs to do in order to take the next step in his development.
Kris Bryant hit his second homer since his promotion to the D-Cubs on Wednesday afternoon. Bryant is off to an excellent start to his professional career and could be on the fast track to Wrigley, but likely not as fast as ESPN Chicago reported.
According to a report from ESPN Chicago, Bryant could be the Cubs’ Opening Day third baseman next season … yes, the report indicated Opening Day 2014. Bryant could make his big league debut at some point late next season but Opening Day seems rushing a player that has a chance to have a very good big league career. And not the game plan for Bryant that the front office seems to have.
News and Notes
Starlin Castro is still struggling to hit fastballs.
Matt Guerrier is getting a second opinion from Reds team physician Dr. Timothy Kremchek before undergoing surgery to repair a torn pronator muscle in his right arm. The recovery time, according to Guerrier, is less than Tommy John surgery. Guerrier is looking at a six-to-eight month recovery and rehab process. Guerrier is obviously disappointed but would like to re-sign with the Cubs, perhaps on a minor league deal, so he can help the team next season.
Arismendy Alcantara went 0-for-0 on Wednesday night with three walks and two runs scored … and Alcantara stole home.
Josh Vitters re-injured his hamstring during Tuesday’s game and could be on his way back to the disabled list.