The city of Chicago held its breath Saturday night, as the Cubs beat the Dodgers 5-0 to advance to the World Series.
The Cubs started the National League Championship Series at home on October 15, when they beat the Dodgers 8-4. The next night, the Dodgers tied the Series with a 1-0 win. The teams took a break to travel to Los Angeles, where Arrieta pitched his first game since the August 30, 2015 no-hitter that helped clinch his 2015 NL Cy Young Award. Unfortunately, Arrieta wasn’t as lucky this time, and the Cubs lost 6-0. That made the Series 2-1 Dodgers. The Cubs came back the next day to beat the Dodgers with a whopping 10-2 victory. And the following day, the hammered the Dodgers with another win, 8-4. That put the Cubs up 3-2 in the Series, as they returned home to face the Dodgers at Wrigley on Saturday night.
The Cubs were strong from the start and scored 2 runs in the bottom of the 1st inning. This was a shock to Dodgers fans, who were expecting their #1 pitcher, Clayton Kershaw, to stand between the Cubs and a trip to the World Series. Kershaw was expected to give the Dodgers one more chance in a Sunday game. Instead, he gave up 5 runs (4 earned) on 7 hits in 5 innings pitched. He struck out 4 and didn’t allow any walks. But he did allow 2 home runs. After he left the game, Kenley Jansen came in and held the Cubs for another 3 innings. But the damage was already done.
On the other hand, Kyle Hendricks, who was pitching for the Cubs, had an outstanding game. He pitched a little over 7 innings, and allowed just 2 hits, with 6 strikeouts, no walks, and no runs. Aroldis Chapman came in to close and allowed just 1 walk while striking out 1 in a little over an inning.
But the big news for Frog fans is this: The Cubs pitch on a 5-day rotation. Since Arrieta pitched last Tuesday, he could’ve been ready to pitch this past Saturday night. But the Cubs opted to go with Hendricks, who’s been very strong this season. That meant that Arrieta would’ve been an option for Game 7 of the NLCS, had the game been needed. Since it wasn’t necessary, Arrieta is now ready to pitch in the World Series against Cleveland. He’s currently expected to pitch on Wednesday, October 26. This will be a challenge, as the two teams meet in Cleveland for the first two games of the Series. But the Cubs should feel prepared in sending one of their top performers to the mound for Game 2, and he’ll have more than a week’s rest on his arm. Arrieta needs to shake off last Tuesday’s loss and do what he does best: keep batters guessing. While Arrieta admits he’s struggled this season, he’s still one of baseball’s best. So be sure to send him an encouraging Tweet or two (and follow his wife, Brittany Arrieta), and watch Wednesday night, October 26, when Arrieta pitches against Cleveland.