The last time the Cubs won a postseason game, Jake Arrieta allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings against the Dodgers in 2017. Willson Contreras was his battery mate in that final playoff chapter.
There they were again Friday night in Washington, only the franchise was starting a new chapter that looks nothing like that last one.
Arrieta started Friday after Trevor Williams, the scheduled starter, was traded in a flurry of deals in a 24-hour span that included three All-Star core players: Javy Báez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo.
It was an emotional day and ending to the most successful era of Cubs baseball that included five postseason berths in six seasons with a World Series title — one they don’t win without Arrieta.
“It’s tough to see something like this come to an end," he said. "But everything does, eventually.”
It also marked the start of a new chapter for the Cubs.
“It's time for the next wave of guys to establish [their own legacy] and I want to be a part of that as well,” said Arrieta, one of four members — five, counting manager David Ross — of the 2016 team left standing.
Arrieta helped create the last legacy starting in 2013, after the Cubs acquired him from the Orioles. He soon ascended into a Cy Young Award winner and led a playoff rotation to that historic championship.
He came off the injured list Friday to make his first start since July 6, following a rough two-month stretch in which he turned in an 8.55 ERA in 12 starts. In four innings against the Nationals, he allowed two runs on six hits.
Arrieta is trying to finish the season strong, along with a number of young pitchers who are trying to prove they belong in the long-term plans.
“Regardless of where we are in the standings, we owe it to the fans, to our city, to perform well and to perform at a high level,” Arrieta said. “I would like to see the guys that came in recently to hit the ground running because it's pretty obvious that they know how to win.
“They have good stuff, they know how to compete, and they've seen what we've done as a team in the past. I know that they want to do the same things we were able to do. The goal is to win.
“The goal is to help these young guys grow into winning players and establish the winning mentality and create the next group of Chicago greats.”