Cubs

Jake Arrieta refuses to cave in, sets tone for Cubs

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Jake Arrieta refuses to cave in, sets tone for Cubs

CINCINNATI — Two years ago, Jake Arrieta may not have made it out of the fifth inning of Sunday's Cubs-Reds game.

But Arrieta has come a long way in the last couple seasons, maturing so much as a pitcher that he has become a frontline arm for the Cubs with a bulldog mentality each time out.

He showed that again Sunday, working around several jams and limiting the damage to just two runs in a 5-2 Cubs victory.

Arrieta looked like he was in cruise control early, setting down the first 11 in a row before the wheels started to come off. Reds third baseman Todd Frazier looped a home run down the left field line and Arrieta gave up back-to-back hits immediately after.

[MORE: Cubs see things starting to come together after sweep of Reds]

The 29-year-old righty escaped that jam, only to find himself in a bases loaded, no-out situation to start the fifth. But once again, he limited the damage, giving up just one run on a Billy Hamilton groundout.

"I sped up a little bit, got out of my rhythm," Arrieta said. "A little uncharacteristic there. But as things got a little more tense there, my emphasis was on not making a mistake. Damage control and making pitches to avoid the big inning.

"When things like that happen, a walk here or there to load the bases really wasn't my concern. My concern was limiting hard-hit balls."

That sounds like a guy who has developed a true understanding of pitching. It's another sign that Arrieta has figured it all out since Baltimore, where he failed to live up to high expectations as a top pitching prospect with the Orioles.

Arrieta is now 3-1 with a 2.03 ERA and 0.94 WHIP on the season. Since joining the Cubs' rotation in late 2013, he is 17-8 with a 2.72 ERA in 38 starts.

Given the way Sunday's outing started, Arrieta admitted he wasn't happy with the result overall, as he hoped to be able to pitch into the eighth inning. 

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But he'll take the win as the Cubs cruised to a 4-2 road trip.

"Jake had great stuff," manager Joe Maddon said. "After the home run, it just seemed like he was off command-wise a little bit. But his stuff was still good.

"I really appreciate fighting through some tough moments. That's what you talk about when you say a guy doesn't cave in. And that matters, because you're not going to have your best everything every night.

"You've got to be able to win with less than your best, and he did. And that's really a tribute to him and his work and his mental focus, etc."

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Another Cubs star injured

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Another Cubs star injured

SportsTalk Live is on location on Gallagher Way at Wrigley Field for Cubs Authentic Fan Night. Luke Stuckmeyer and Tony Andracki join Kap on the panel.

0:00 - The Athletic's Sahadev Sharma joins the panel to discuss the Cubs' 47-run sweep of the Pirates and dissect what Anthony Rizzo's ankle injury means for the team's playoff chances.

10:30 - The Score's David Schuster joins the show to talk about the Bears' improbable win in Denver and another sub-par performance by Mitch Trubisky.

19:00 - Kap gives his plays of the night on FanDuel Money Mondays.

Listen to the entire episode here or in the embedded player below.

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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Cubs Talk Podcast: Anthony Rizzo injury update

Cubs Talk Podcast: Anthony Rizzo injury update

On the latest Cubs Talk Podcast, Anthony Rizzo talks about his ankle sprain, Theo Epstein reacts to the injury and Luke Stuckmeyer, David Kaplan and Tony Andracki discuss how the Cubs will fill the void in the lineup.

01:00 - How Rizzo is doing a day after the injury

03:30 - Anthony Rizzo discusses his injury

06:00 - Will we see Rizzo again in the regular season?

08:00 - Theo Epstein discusses Rizzo's injury

10:00 - Who will play first base in Rizzo's absence?

12:00 - Need to continue the offensive surge

Listen to the entire episode here or in the embedded player below.

Cubs Talk Podcast

Subscribe:

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Cubs games easily on your device.