Jake Arrieta followed up his breakout 2014 season with a dominant year than included an historic second half and was topped off with a National League Cy Young Award.
Everyone knows the stats by now. Jake Arrieta was 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 2.35 FIP. Arrieta gave up 52 runs, 45 earned, on 150 hits with 48 walks and 236 strikeouts over 229 innings in 33 starts. Arrieta became the Cubs first 20-game winner in 14 years and he was the first Cubs’ pitcher since Greg Maddux (1992) to win the NL Cy Young Award. It was his second half, however, that won him the league’s top pitching award.
Jake Arrieta put together the best second half in the history of the game that included his first no-hitter on Aug. 30 at Dodger Stadium. Arrieta’s no-o versus the Dodgers was one of the most dominating performances in franchise history, second to only Kerry Wood’s 20-strikeout game in 1998.
In 15 starts in the second half, Arrieta was 12-1 with a 0.75 ERA and 0.72 WHIP. Arrieta allowed 12 runs, nine earned, on 55 hits with 23 walks and 113 strikeouts in 107 1/3 innings. Arrieta’s .075 ERA after the break with the lowest post All-Star break ERA in big league history. Arrieta was the National League Pitcher of the Month in August and September. And he did not allowed a run in his last 22 innings of the regular season. The Cubs only loss in his last 15 starts of the regular season was on July 25 when The No-Hit Streak ended.
Arrieta had an ERA of 0.41 from August 1 through the end of the regular season. Over his last 12 starts, Arrieta did not allow a run nine times, gave up one earned run twice and allowed two earned runs in one start.
Arrieta made 11 six-plus inning scoreless starts, the most by a Cubs’ pitcher since 1914 and he broke the All-Time scoreless innings streak at Wrigley Field previously held by Bob Gibson (1965-66). Arrieta did not allow a run at Wrigley over his last 40 2/3 innings in his home park.
Jake Arrieta posted a 9-5 mark in 15 starts at Wrigley with a 1.97 ERA and 0.85 WHIP and in 18 road starts, Arrieta was 13-1 with a 1.60 ERA and 0.87 WHIP.
Jake Arrieta became the first pitcher in big league history to finish a season with 20-straight quality starts since ERA became official stat in 1913. And Arrieta became the fifth pitcher to earn at least 22 wins with no more than six losses and an ERA below 2.00 since the earned run became an official stat, joining Sandy Koufax (1963), Denny McLain (1968), Ron Guidry (1978) and Dwight Gooden (1985).
The Cubs leaned on Arrieta in the playoffs and he delivered in the NL Wild Card Game. Arrieta blanked the Pirates with a complete game gem. The Cubs won the franchise’s first post-season game in 12 years. Arrieta ran out of gas in the NLDS and NLCS and finished his first trip to the playoffs with a 2-1 record in three starts with a 3.66 ERA and 0.91 WHIP (eight runs, 14 hits, four walks and 28 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings).
Those that have labeled Jake Arrieta a one-hit wonder have not paid attention to how well he’s pitched with the Cubs since the trade from Baltimore in July 2013. Arrieta was 10-5 in 25 starts for the Cubs in 2014 with a 2.53 ERA and 0.98 WHP.
In his two-plus seasons with the Cubs not counting the playoffs, Arrieta is 36-13 with a 2.26 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. Arrieta has allowed 120 runs, 110 earned, on 298 hits with 113 walks and 440 strikeouts in 437 1/3 innings. At Wrigley, Arrieta is 18-7 in 33 regular season starts with a 2.01 ERA and 0.86 WHIP. Arrieta has allowed 50 runs, 49 earned, on 132 hits with 57 walks and 210 strikeouts in 219 2/3 innings.
A case could be made to include just about every start Arrieta made last season in his top five games of the year. With five complete games, one in the post-season, those are the five performances that stand out the most in what was an incredible season for Jake Arrieta, the 2015 National League Cy Young Award winner.
5) June 21 vs. Twins at Target Field – Arrieta Goes the Distance, Cubs Win Series with Twins in Grand Fashion – Cubs 8, Twins 0
Jake Arrieta blanked the Twins on just four hits and earned his first complete game shutout of the season, second of his career. Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro gave the Cubs an early lead before Kyle Schwarber and Dexter Fowler broke the game open with a six-run eighth inning.
After a very good April and a shaky at best May, Arrieta lacked the consistency the Cubs would need from him in order to make it to the post-season. That all changed with his outing on Father’s Day.
Jake Arrieta bounced back from one of his worst starts of the year in Cleveland with a pitching clinic against the Twins that really started his march toward the NL Cy Young Award.
4) July 12 vs. White Sox at Wrigley Field – Jake Arrieta Pitches, Jake Arrieta Hits, Cubs Win – Cubs 3, White Sox 1
Jake Arrieta put the Cubs on his back on the final Sunday before the All-Star Game and salvaged the last game of the series with the White Sox. Paying tribute to Ernie Banks, the Cubs scored two quick runs off Jose Quintana. Kris Bryant tripled in Dexter Fowler and scored on a Jorge Soler single. After the first inning, it was all Jake Arrieta.
Arrieta struck out six of the first nine batters he faced that afternoon on just 35 pitches and did not surrender his first hit until the fourth inning. Arrieta struck out the side in order in the ninth to tie his career high in wins at 10.
Jake Arrieta smacked the first home run of his career, a solo shot to left in the fifth on a 0-2 pitch from Jose Quintana.
At the time, Arrieta’s outing against the Sox was considered his best start of the season. No one had any idea what would come after the All-Star and in the NL Wild Card Game.
3) September 22 vs. Brewers at Wrigley Field – Twenty Wins for Jake Arrieta – Cubs 4, Brewers 0
Jake Arrieta became the Cubs first 20-game winner in 14 years with his fourth complete game of the season. Arrieta allowed just three hits, only one left the infield. And the Brewers’ depleted lineup did not have a batter advance past second base after the first inning.
Arrieta faced four over the minimum after allowed three hits and one walk over nine innings. Arrieta struck out 11 batters on the historic night at Wrigley in which Kris Bryant set the Cubs’ rookie record for homers in a single season, breaking Billy Williams’ mark of 25 homers hit in 1961.
2) October 7 vs. Pirates at PNC Park – Jake Arrieta Silences the Pirates, Cubs Win the NL Wild Card Game – Cubs 4, Pirates 0
Jake Arrieta promised his teammates if they gave him one run he would take care of the rest. Dexter Fowler and Kyle Schwarber put a run on the board in the first inning and two more in the third on Schwarber’s titanic two-run blast. Fowler and Schwarber scored all four of the Cubs’ runs and Arrieta kept his word.
Arrieta went the distance for the fifth time on the year and shut out the Pirates. Arrieta allowed four hits without walking a batter. Arrieta did hit a couple of batters but struck out 11 and pitched ahead in the count to 20 of the 32 batters he faced.
The Cubs won the franchise’s first post-season game in 12 years and advanced to the NLDS to face the St. Louis Cardinals.
1) August 30 vs. Dodgers at Dodger Stadium – Amazing Jake! Arrieta No Hits the Dodgers – Cubs 2, Dodgers 0
On a Sunday night in front of a national audience, Jake Arrieta completed the first no-hitter of his career in what ended up being the second best start in Cubs’ history.
Arrieta faced just two batters over the minimum and struck out a season-high 12 batters on 116 pitches, 80 for strikes. Arrieta put the exclamation point on his No-No by striking out the side in the ninth inning. Arrieta recorded the Cubs’ first no-hitter in seven years (Carlos Zambrano, Sept. 14, 2008) and the 14th no-hitter in franchise history.
Kris Bryant launched a two-run homer off Alex Wood in the first inning that gave Arrieta all the run support he needed on his magical night in Los Angeles.
Jake Arrieta was one of the main reasons for the Cubs excellent season and his second half coincided with the team’s incredible 42-18 run over the final two-plus months of the regular season. Arrieta now gets the unenviable task of following up his performance on a team with enormous expectations. Regardless of what happens moving forward, Jake Arrieta’s 2015 season will be remembered as one of the most dominant in baseball history.