Jake Arrieta began the year on the disabled list and as an afterthought. To Arrieta’s credit he got healthy, turned in the best season of his career and pitched his way on to the headlines.
In his last start of the year, Jake Arrieta allowed one unearned run on two hits with a walk to the first batter he faced. Only four Cardinals reached base Wednesday and he struck out 10 batters in seven innings, the fourth time this season Arrieta recorded double digits in strikeouts.
Arrieta finished the season with a 10-5 record in 25 starts with a 2.53 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP. Arrieta gave up 114 hits with 41 walks and 167 strikeouts in 156 2/3 innings. Arrieta ended the year with the best ERA for a Cubs pitcher with a minimum of 150 innings since Mark Prior posted a 2.43 ERA in 2003.
Over his final four starts, Jake Arrieta was 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA and a 0.71 WHIP … only 15 hits with five walks, two HBP and 32 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings.
And at Wrigley Field this year, Jake Arrieta was 6-1 in 12 starts with a 1.46 ERA and a 0.79 WHIP (46 hits with 17 walks and 80 strikeouts in 80 innings).
Rick Renteria gave Jake Arrieta the title of ‘Cubs Ace’, but as Sahadev Sharma pointed out Arrieta is getting close to earning the ‘Ace’ label.
Depending on the additions the front office makes to the roster this off-season, Jake Arrieta could be on the mound at Wrigley when the Cubs face the Cardinals on Opening Day. When asked about being the Cubs Opening Day starter, Arrieta acknowledged that was a possibility but “that will kind of develop and unfold as that time approaches.” Arrieta anticipates “things happening this off-season.”
Jake Arrieta sees the direction the Cubs are going and admitted the team has “a lot of good things going on” that “will continue to build and progress into more of a winning atmosphere.”
Anthony Rizzo was not nostalgic about Wrigley Field prior to Wednesday’s game. The Cubs’ All-Star first baseman told the beat writers he would not take an extra look at the way the field looked before the restoration project begins, possibly as soon as this weekend.
Rizzo is looking forward to the new and improved Wrigley. According to the report from Comcast SportsNet, Rizzo said, “Sorry to say that, but I think it’s great with the renovations. I know Wrigley is very historic, but it will still be historic with the ivy, the bricks everywhere and the bleacher seats. The video board is just going to help give us an extra home field advantage.”
Anthony Rizzo is looking forward to next season and he admitted the Cubs will have a lot to prove.
Cubs 2014 Attendance
There was a small bump in attendance at Wrigley Field this year, which is a pretty significant story for a team that was picked to lose at least 100 games when the season began.
2,652,113 fans bought tickets to the Cubs 81 home games this season, 9,431 more than the 2,642,682 paid attendance at Wrigley a year ago. According to multiple reports, the Cubs surpassed their estimated attendance for the season. Danny Ecker reported for the first time since 2008, the Cubs sold more tickets than the season before.
There is an excitement surrounding the Cubs going into the off-season, which should help with ticket sales for the 2015 season.
About the Cubs improved play this year at Wrigley Field, Rick Renteria said, “It’s not where we want to be. Obviously we want to be better. Is it a good start? Yeah, I’d say it’s a good start. I’ll say that these guys have chipped away and have probably been able to give the fans, through the victories, a little better experience.”
The Cubs posted a 41-40 record at Wrigley Field in 2014, the first winning season at home since 2009. And while the team will finish the year in last place in the NL Central and well below .500, the Cubs improved to 71-88 on the season with Wednesday’s victory, 31-34 since the All-Star break. The 71 wins are the most victories for a Cubs team since 2011 (71-91), but with only three games left, the Cubs do not have enough time to reach the 75 wins the 2010 team (75-87) recorded under Lou Piniella and Mike Quade.
Rick Renteria said Wednesday the Cubs will be better next year.
News and Notes
John Baker has not decided what he will do in baseball after this season. Baker likes what he sees with the Cubs young roster and would like to be part of the team that wins it all. According to a report from Sahadev Sharma, coaching might be the next step for John Baker.
MiLB.com posted a review of the 2014 PCL season.
Jake Arrieta was the first Cubs pitcher to hit a triple since LHP Chris Rusin in Milwaukee on Aug. 21, 2012. Rusin tripled in the first at bat of his big league debut off Marco Estrada.
This Day In Cubstory
2003 – Sammy Sosa became the first player in NL history to drive in at least 100 runs (100 RBI) in nine straight seasons. Sosa joined Rafael Palmeiro and Jimmie Foxx as the only three players in Major League history to accomplish the feat in nine consecutive seasons.
1998 – Sammy Sosa hit home run No. 66, a 462-foot blast at the Astrodome. Sosa took the lead in the home run title chase against Mark McGwire. But Sosa did not hit another longball the rest of the season. McGwire tied Sosa for the home runs lead less than an hour after Sosa hit his round tripper.
1997 – Game between the Cubs and Astros is included as part of the live episode of NBC’s “ER.”
1995 – Frank Castillo one-hit the Cardinals in a 7-0 win over St. Louis. The only hit, a triple by Bernard Gilkey. Castillo struck out 13 and issued two free passes.
1989 – Cubs clinched a tie for the NL East title with the Cardinals after dropping a 10-inning game in Montreal. Andre Dawson hit a pair of home runs, the second was an inside the park homer after Dave Martinez caught the ball but fell to the ground in pain after pulling a muscle.
1987 – Lars Anderson, born
1978 – Joel Pineiro, born
1969 – A Grand Slam in the ninth inning off the bat of Ron Santo gave the Cubs a 4-1 victory over the Dodgers at Wrigley.
1969 – Tony Womack, born
1969 – David Weathers, born
1966 – Ken Holtzman lost a no-hitter in the ninth inning, but still outpitched Sandy Koufax in a 2-1 victory over the Dodgers at Wrigley Field. Holtzman surrendered two hits.
1935 – Phil Cavarretta hit a home run that accounted for the only run in a 1-0 win over the Cardinals in St. Louis. The Cubs won its 19th straight game and moved into a tie for first place in the National League.
1934 – Phil Cavarretta went 4-for-5 with two triples, two runs scored and four RBI while Dewey Williams drove in four runs with two singles. Bill Nicholson drove in three runs with a double and a triple. And Lou Novikoff hit his final home run with the Cubs.
1885 – The Chicago National League Ball Club played a ‘home’ game in Milwaukee and beat Providence 21-3 behind 26 hits and 20 errors by the Providence club.
This Day in Baseball History
1974 – Dr. Frank Jobe repaired Tommy John’s ulnar collateral ligament by replacing the elbow tendon of the pitching arm with a tendon from the right wrist.