Jake Arrieta (P/Chicago Cubs) – On May 14, the Cubs were home against the Pirates. Arrieta had a fantastic game and only threw 108 pitches in 8 full innings. He didn't face more than 5 batters in an inning, except for the 4th, where the Pirates had a little luck and managed to put 2 points on the board. That inning was rough for Arrieta, as Polanco was able to steal second, Arrieta threw a wild pitch to Cervelli, and then he hit Kang with a pitch. But he recovered quickly and grabbed the grounder by Harrison to toss it to second, which led to a double play and the end of the inning.
Of course, there was much Twitter chatter about that pitch to Kang and whether or not it was intentional. Arrieta responded to the chatter and refuted the idea that it was intentional:
@JustChrisLeone I guess I also wouldn't have minded seeing Jeff Locke send a message pitch to the chin of Jake Arrietta— Matt Maisel (@Matt_Maisel) May 14, 2016
After that slippery inning, Arrieta tightened things up, and the Pirates didn't get anymore runs. The Cubs took the game 8-2, giving Arrieta his 8th win this season. His final stats for the game included 2 runs on 3 hits in 8 innings pitched. He walked 2 and struck out 11, which is the most batters he's struck out this season.
After Stephen Strasburg's recent $175 million deal with the Nationals, there's been some chatter surrounding Arrieta in regards to his contract with the Cubs ending in 2017. He'll be a free agent, and he appears to know his value. That being said, he can't allow himself to focus on that when he's got the longest winning streak the Cubs have seen in 100 years going strong. The Cy Young winner is valuable now, but we're nowhere near fall baseball yet. And a World Series ring adds value, too. Arrieta's ERA is currently 1.29 with a WHIP of .84. You can see more stats from his 2016 season here.
Andrew Cashner (P/San Diego Padres) - I want to expand a bit on Cashner's last game against the Mets. The Pads were home against the Mets on May 8, and Cashner took his usual starting position on the mound. It was a weird game for Cashner. As far as his pitching goes, he allowed 3 runs on 8 hits in 5 innings, including a homerun by Yoenis Cespedes in the top of the 3rd. He walked 1 and struck out 1.
At the plate, he reached on a bunt single to third in the bottom of the 3rd, and he was the only Padre to get on base at all that inning, though he didn't make it all the way around. Then he struck out swinging in the bottom of the 5th but was safe at first on a wild pitch by Matt Harvey. He came in to pitch the 6th but left with a hamstring injury, and he's been on the DL since. The Padres lost that game 4-3. While word has it that he's been running again in practice, he continued his recovery this week, hence the more detailed recap of the game that caused his injury.
Of course, the Sports Heads are already bringing up the fact that he was being considered for that offseason trade, along with Tyson Ross, and now they're both on the DL.
#Padres received trade interest in both Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner during offseason. No moves. Now they're both on DL.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) May 13, 2016
Personally, I just think the Padres haven't had it together in awhile and need to focus on making over the entire team from the top down. They've had 1 game this season with more than 3 runs (they scored 9 against he Giants April 27), and they still lost. Don't blame the players for crummy leadership and coaching. But I digress....We wish Cashner a smooth recovery and hope to see him back on the mound soon. Cashner's ERA is currently 4.93, with a WHIP of 1.47. For more of Cashner's stats, click here.
Matt Carpenter (3B/St. Louis Cardinals) – Carpenter spent the week on the road in California. The Cards had a 3-game series against the Angels before they saw the Dodgers. Carpenter started the game in true dramatic style, with a homerun in the top of the 1st. He had so much fun the first time that he decided to do it again in the top of the 6th! The Cardinals won 8-1. On May 11, he hit a sac fly in the top of the 2nd to bring in Randal Grichuk. In the top of the 7th, he sacrificed to the pitcher to get Wong to second. Wong was brought in for the score by Stephen Piscotty. The Cardinals won 5-2. May 12 saw a high-scoring close game between the teams. Carpenter did his part with a 3-run homer in the top of the 5th. Fans saw 4 total homeruns in the game, including 2 by St. Louis' Matt Holliday and 1 by the Angels' Albert Pujols. The final score was 12-10, with the Cardinals taking the game and the series. Carpenter walked 3 times during the game but didn't get any further than third. The Cardinals lost the game 8-4. On May 14, Carpenter didn't see much action at the plate. He helped his team with a sacrifice to the pitcher in the top of the 3rd to advance the runners, but the Cardinals ultimately lost 5-3. On May 15, Carpenter got his groove back and had a homerun in the top the of the 3rd to get the 1st run of the game for the Cards.
He walked in the top of the 6th and was intentionally walked in the top of the 7th. The Cardinals won 5-2. Carpenter's AVG rose to .257, and he has 8 homeruns so far this season. For more stats from Carpenter's 2016 season, click here.
The Reds saw the Phillies on the road May 13. Finnegan allowed 3 runs on 4 hits in 4 innings. He walked 5 and struck out 4. It was 2-0 Cincinnati going into the bottom of the 4th. Unfortunately, Tyler Goeddel hit a 2-run triple to deep right, followed by a sacrifice to catcher by Jeremy Hellickson that brought in Goeddel and put the Phillies up 3-2. The score didn't change, and the Reds lost 3-2. Finnegan's ERA is currently 4.40, with a WHIP of 1.40. For more on Finnegan's season, you can go here.
Bryan Holaday (C/Texas Rangers) – Holaday wins the award this week for seeing the most drama on the field. The Rangers were home this week and saw the White Sox on May 10. It was 5-2 White Sox going into the bottom of the 3rd, until Holaday came up and hammered a 3-run homerun to left field, bringing in Ryan Rua and Elvis Andrus.
The Rangers continued their comeback with a huge rally in the bottom of the 8th. Holaday had a double and was brought in by Adrian Beltre a sac fly to right. After scoring 7 to put the Rangers up by 2, they held the White Sox scoreless in the top of the 9th. The Rangers won 13-11. Holaday played against the Mets on May 15, in a game that is now known as The Punch in the Face Heard ‘Round the World. Holaday hit a double to deep center in the bottom of the 5th, which brought Rua in for the score. Then in the bottom of the 7th, Holaday walked and was brought in on a 3-run homer by Desmond. That put the Rangers up 7-6 going into the 8th.
Then, in the top of the 8th, Jose Bautista was hit by a pitch, dramatically took his place at first base, and then threw a late slide at Rougned Odor during a double play. Odor got pissed, threw a punch that would make any schoolboy proud, and the benches cleared. But a huge hats off to Holaday for running to the brawl and not engaging in it. You can clearly see him on the video trying to break things up and keep the two teams apart (not that it did a whole lot of good, but he gets points for trying). If you want full details, debate, and tweets about the whole incident, you can find it here. The Rangers held the lead and finished the game with the 1-point victory. Holaday's AVG is currently .231. You can find his stats here.