Cubs

Why Cubs believe Jake Arrieta will be unstoppable in October

jakearrietaslide100315.png

Why Cubs believe Jake Arrieta will be unstoppable in October

MILWAUKEE – The Cubs believe Jake Arrieta will be unstoppable in October.

Anything can happen in a one-game playoff, as the Pittsburgh Pirates found out last year, when Madison Bumgarner threw a complete-game shutout at PNC Park, jumpstarting the San Francisco Giants on the way to their third championship in five seasons.

The World Series MVP threw 52.2 playoff innings on top of the 218.1 innings he accounted for during the regular season, lifting the Giants into a dynasty level.

Arrieta (22-6, 1.77 ERA) is in that kind of zone now, and the Cubs can’t picture “Snake” getting nervous or losing focus or hitting a wall after 229 innings – during and beyond Wednesday night’s wild-card game against the Pirates.

“I don’t know if we’re ever going to see another performance like what Bumgarner did – ever,” pitching coach Chris Bosio said. “That was phenomenal, basically taking the team, putting them on his back and getting every ounce of energy out of him.

[RELATED: Behind Arrieta, the Cubs are ready for October]

“We’ve managed (Arrieta’s) pitch counts on his bullpens. We’ve managed his pitches in his games. We’re very, very aware of all that. We’re talking about a different animal here.”

There’s no doubt Arrieta’s peaking at the right time after closing out his regular season with Friday’s 6-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. He has made 20 consecutive quality starts – including that no-hitter at Dodger Stadium on national television – and his 0.75 ERA after the All-Star break is the lowest in major-league history.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Arrieta became the fifth pitcher to notch at least 22 wins – with no more than six losses and an ERA below 2.00 – since the earned run became an official stat in 1913. The others were unanimous Cy Young Award winners during those seasons: Sandy Koufax (1963), Denny McLain (1968), Ron Guidry (1978) and Dwight Gooden (1985).

“The workouts this guy goes through,” Bosio said. “There’s not too many guys who could go in there and walk away without cramping up, (much less) doing it two, three times a week.

“It’s the stretching regimen, (nutrition), the conditioning part of it, the mental side of it and the preparation in video. But all that comes with command of his pitches. You could take any scouting report and throw it out the window if a guy can’t command his pitches.

“That’s what makes Jake so tough. He’s able to locate four pitches on both sides (of the plate on certain days). He even said it after the no-hitter – it was one of those games where he knew exactly where the ball was going. He’s got electric stuff.”

Joe Maddon had David Price when the star lefty won a Cy Young Award with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012, but the Cubs manager still hasn’t seen anything like Arrieta’s sustained brilliance.

[NBC SHOP: Buy a Jake Arrieta jersey]

“I’ve never seen a year like it,” said Bosio, who played four seasons with Randy Johnson on the Seattle Mariners, including a Cy Young year in 1995.

Like Matt Harvey, Arrieta is a Scott Boras client, but there will be nothing like the innings-limit controversy surrounding the New York Mets. Unlike Harvey, Arrieta is 29 years old, didn’t have Tommy John surgery after the 2013 season and hasn’t shown any warning signs.

“I’ve not seen anything slide backward at all,” Maddon said, “whether it’s command, whether it’s velocity, whether it’s break on the breaking pitches. Furthermore, he’s cooperated so well regarding how to get to this point – only seven (innings) last time, only six this time. There were not a lot of stressful moments.

“The repetition of delivery is there. The stuff is the same as it was two months ago. So for all those reasons, I think he can continue this. It’s really incredible to watch.”

Ben Zobrist provides a hilarious glimpse into how he's spending a free October

Ben Zobrist provides a hilarious glimpse into how he's spending a free October

Ben Zobrist won't win the Comeback Player of the Year award this winter, but maybe he can take home a Grammy for Best New Artist?

The Cubs veteran infielder/outfielder posted a hilarious video on his Instagram Wednesday night showcasing how he's been spending October after the Cubs were unceremoniously ousted from the playoffs after on the third day of the month.

It's a fantastic music video of Zobrist lip-syncing to Mumford & Sons' "I Will Wait" while he nearly knocks the TV off the wall of his home by swinging the bat indoors pretending to hit off Clayton Kershaw and frolicking around a field that looks shockingly similar to Hershel's farm from the second season of "The Walking Dead":

View this post on Instagram

It always takes me a few weeks to process the season and begin the offseason. Here are my thoughts.....along with a unique way of making light of the postseason that should have been......... (special thanks to @dimtillard for help with Video) Maybe you feel the way I do. It was a very quick and abrupt ending to a good season for us. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But let’s not forget all the good that happened. This game and this team gives us something to pass the time, to express our love and passion, to feel the joy of the wins and the pains of the losses, and it calls us to unity when we so easily can be divided about so many other things. Each game is a microcosm of life. The game itself is not Life, but it helps us deal with life in a way. I’m thankful for even the painful losses at the end. The game can be a great teacher. I felt privileged to play with this team and play for our fans all year. We were stretched and we grew in new ways as individuals and as a group and that is always a good thing. We strive to win championships, but more often the process is the goal. We will be stronger because of all that we went through this year. What will I do now? I will travel and watch my wife crush her book tour. I will be in and out of Chi-town. I just got back home to Franklin, TN. I will find joy in raising and watching my kids grow and continue becoming their own person. I will rest and begin preparing for next season. I will work hard in mind, body, and spirit. I will help other players with @patriotforward and @showandgo. I will focus on personal growth and charitable endeavors and become a better man, teammate, friend, and player. To Baseball and Fans: For the next 5 months until I play next year.... I will wait for you....

A post shared by Ben Zobrist (@benzobrist18) on

Zobrist also posted a lengthy caption on his perspective on the Cubs' disappointing end to the season:

It always takes me a few weeks to process the season and begin the offseason. Here are my thoughts.....along with a unique way of making light of the postseason that should have been......... (special thanks to @dimtillard for help with Video) 
Maybe you feel the way I do. It was a very quick and abrupt ending to a good season for us. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But let’s not forget all the good that happened. This game and this team gives us something to pass the time, to express our love and passion, to feel the joy of the wins and the pains of the losses, and it calls us to unity when we so easily can be divided about so many other things. Each game is a microcosm of life. The game itself is not
Life, but it helps us deal with life in a way. I’m thankful for even the painful losses at the end. The game can be a great teacher. 
I felt privileged to play with this team and play for our fans all year. We were stretched and we grew in new ways as individuals and as a group and that is always a good thing. We strive to win championships, but more often the process is the goal. We will be stronger because of all that we went through this year. 
What will I do now? I will travel and watch my wife crush her book tour. I will be in and out of Chi-town. I just got back home to Franklin, TN. I will find joy in raising and watching my kids grow and continue becoming their own person. I will rest and begin preparing for next season. I will work hard in mind, body, and spirit. I will help other players with @patriotforward and @showandgo. I will focus on personal growth and charitable endeavors and become a better man, teammate, friend, and player. 
To Baseball and Fans: For the next 5 months until I play next year....
I will wait for you....

Come for the Zobrist lip sync, but stay for the 37-year-old using a bat as a guitar while wearing a sleeveless shirt and rocking an old-timey top hat.

A year ago, Zobrist completely reshaped his offseason workout plan after three straight years of playing deep into October. It appears he's added another new trick to his winter workout — hopping over fences even though there is a clear opening just a foot away.

Hey, whatever works...

Cubs Talk Podcast: Manny Machado’s value and other Cubs offseason wish list items

1012_manny_machado.jpg
USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Manny Machado’s value and other Cubs offseason wish list items

Did Manny Machado’s value take a hit at all after he openly admitted hustling isn’t his “cup of tea”? Our Cubs team (David Kaplan, Kelly Crull, Tony Andracki, Jeff Nelson) debate that, plus the potential fit of Machado or Bryce Harper for the 2019 Cubs and beyond.

[MORE: The most underrated storyline of the Cubs offseason]

The crew also runs down the top items on the Cubs’ offseason wish list – ranging from bullpen help to infield depth to a set leadoff hitter – in what may be the most impactful winter in Theo Epstein’s tenure in Chicago.

Listen to the podcast here or via the embedded player below: