Results tagged ‘ Jake Arrieta ’

2016 Cubs Convention: Cy Young Winners

The 2015 season was spectacular for Jake Arrieta, as he captured the NL Cy Young Award after posting a 22-6 record and a sparkling 1.77 ERA. Jim Deshaies hosted this panel with Arrieta and former Cubs right-hander Rick Sutcliffe (NL Cy Young 1984). Each former Cub great relived their award-winning seasons.

Cubs television broadcaster Jim Deshaies (who posted an 84-95 career record with a 4.14 ERA in 12 big league seasons) kicked off the Cy Young panel by informing people that Fergie Jenkins was unable to attend. So it will just be Sutcliffe and Arrieta. Both Sutcliffe and Arrieta get a standing ovation when they’re introduced.

Sutcliffe was in Cleveland before he came to Chicago and said he was pitching well, but no one noticed because the team wasn’t good. Once he came to Chicago, he felt like he had a 5-0 lead before he ever took the mound every game because the Cubs were so good.

Arrieta says there’s no better city to have success in than Chicago. He says it took a lot of failure for him to get to this point a a pitcher, but he worked hard until it all culminated in last season. He says he felt like there was a point last season around midseason where he kind of “blacked out.” He woke up months later a Cy Young winner.

Sutcliffe compared Arrieta’s 2015 season to Bob Gibson’s, after which they lowered the mound to benefit hitters.

Deshaies talks about the inevitability of Arrieta’s no-hitter. He says everyone saw it coming because of how close he’d gotten in the past. Arrieta said he wants the next one to happen at Wrigley Field.

Next up is the question and answer session:

  • Arrieta talks about how much pitching coach Chris Bosio, who also threw a no-hitter has helped him. Arrieta has been picking the brains of guys like Bosio and Sutcliffe to find out how they go about their business. Arrieta says in Baltimore he was trying to make too many changes and getting away from what was comfortable to him. He got back to being himself in Chicago.
  • A fan compliments Arrieta on his beard and asks for some advice on growing a good one. Arrieta says it comes from his dad (as does the back hair). He said his dad is a very hairy man.
  • Sutcliffe says he would have given away his Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards to win a championship here. Arrieta agrees. The goal is to win with 25 other guys and enjoy it with your team. But to be clear, they both loved winning the award.
  • Arrieta’s family knew he won the award before he did. They were bringing champagne out to the patio, and he didn’t know what was going on.
  • Sutcliffe says the only difference after winning the award is it takes longer to sign your name because people want you to put “Cy Young winner” and the year. Deshaies says that’s why he decided not to win one.
  • Sutcliffe says winning the Cy Young changed his life. He’s not sure ESPN ever would have called if that hadn’t happened.
  • Sutcliffe says one of the guys he surprisingly did really well against in his career is George Brett. He has no idea why he was so good against Brett. He jokes he did hit him with a few pitches. Sutcliffe also says Mike Schmidt killed him. Actually, both him and Lee Smith.
  • Sutcliffe says the hardest worker he was ever around was Trevor Hoffman, but Arrieta surpasses that. Sutcliffe has never seen anyone as physically prepared as Arrieta. Sutcliffe says all Arrieta does is work out.
  • Arrieta says he does about three hours of stretching and Pilates before a game starts to get his body as ready as he can get it.
  • Arrieta says the team is really like a family. And winning with that family is the most important thing. He says David Ross is like his granddad. Lester and Lackey are like his older uncles.
  • Arrieta says he thinks he will be a little less stubborn about coming out of games in 2016 so he can save more innings for October. Maddon is good about trying to save innings on his pitchers’ arms.
  • Sutcliffe talks about how the game has changed. There were 39 complete games in the majors last year. Fergie Jenkins had close to 30 in a single year. Sutcliffe wanted to pitch deep into games, but bullpens were not as specialized back then.
  • Arrieta talks about how he gave it to Pirates fans on social media before the Wild Card game, so he had to go deep into that game to back it up.
  • Arrieta says Pittsburgh and St. Louis are his favorite teams to play against because the stakes are higher. They’re always trying to beat those divisional teams. He also says he gets up a little more for St. Louis because Matt Carpenter is one of his closest friends (they played together at TCU). He can’t let Carpenter beat him.
  • Arrrieta says outside expectations are always lower than his personal expectations for himself. He feels like he should dominate every time out. He says he never second guesses himself. He does everything in his power to prepare himself. Inside the lines on game days is the fun part. They real work is the four days in between.
  • Arrieta talks about how good Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke were this year and how he knew it would be tough to beat them in Cy Young voting. Mind you, they already have multiple Cy Young awards between them. Arrieta thought he should get one this year since he didn’t already have one.
  • Both talk about how hard it is to pitch day games after a night game. It’s tough to wind down after night games or get to bed before 3 a.m. With travel, there are times the team doesn’t get home until very late and then has to play again that afternoon.
  • Both talk about the new clubhouse. Sutcliffe says he wonders where the Ricketts family was 30 years ago.
  • Arrieta says he developed his funky throwing motion as a kid. That’s when he started to throw like that and it just stuck. There are no perfect mechanics. People complain about how he throws across his body, but 80 percent of lefties throw that way. Plus, his delivery does help him create some deception and really hide the ball.
  • Arrieta talks about how important diet is to him. He works out a ton (obviously), but a clean diet really is the key. He says he started eating well at an early age. Training and nutrition were always important to him.
  • Arrieta says the mustache onesie after the Dodgers no-hitter was a little tight, but it felt good. He got it in Tennessee when he was there for a short rehab assignment a few years ago. He bought it then thinking he might need it someday. He says that night in LA was the first time he put it on.
  • Sutcliffe says his “I made it to the big leagues” moment was in 1976. He struck out Steve Henderson four times in a game in the minor leagues. The next day Henderson got traded to the Mets in a deal for Tom Seaver. It made reaching the majors seem more realistic.
  • Arrieta says his moment was a slower burn because he had a sense the call was coming. But when he made the drive from Norfolk, Virginia, to Baltimore for his first game, he realized he was facing the Yankees the next day. And the first batter up was Derek Jeter. That was the moment he really felt like he made it.
  • Sutcliffe talks about helping Chicago get to the playoffs for the first time in 39 years in 1984, when the Cubs clinched the NL East. He was pitching in Pittsburgh with a chance to clinch and saw a fan holding a sign that said “39 years of suffering is enough.” Sutcliffe was new to the organization and didn’t know what it meant, so he asked the fan. The fan explained it to him, and Sutcliffe says he didn’t mean it to be cocky, but he said, “After tonight, that’s all going to change. I promise you that.” After the Cubs clinched behind Sutcliffe’s two-hit complete game, they went out on the field and somehow they had piped in what was going on at Wrigley Field on the screen in Pittsburgh. He realized what it meant to Chicago then.

Cubs Arrieta claims NL Cy Young award

ArrietaCy(Photo by Stephen Green)

Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta was named the National League Cy Young Award winner by the Baseball Writers Association of America on Wednesday. Arrieta received 17 of the possible 30 first-place votes, 11 second place votes and two third place votes for a total of 169 points. Los Angeles’ Zack Greinke placed second with 147 points.

Arrieta is only the fifth pitcher in Cubs history to win the Cy Young Award, the first in 23 years since Greg Maddux took home the honor in 1992. Fergie Jenkins (1971), Bruce Sutter (1979) and Rick Sutcliffe (1984) join Arrieta and Maddux as Cy Young winners in franchise history.

In 2015, Arrieta went 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA (45 ER/229.0 IP) in 33 starts, leading the majors in wins and posting the lowest ERA by a Cubs pitcher in 96 years (Pete Alexander, 1.72 ERA, 1919).  Arrieta went 12-1 with a 0.75 ERA (9 ER/107.1 IP) in 15 starts after the All-Star Break, the lowest ERA in the second half of a season since the All-Star Game was instituted in 1933. He went 11-0 with a 0.41 ERA (4 ER/88.1 IP) in his final 12 starts beginning Aug. 4 to win NL Pitcher of the Month honors in August and September. The 0.41 ERA is the lowest post-Aug. 1 mark since ERA became an official statistic.

Arrieta became only the fifth pitcher to have at least 22 wins with no more than six losses and an ERA under 2.00 since the ERA became an official statistic, joining Sandy Koufax (1963), Denny McLain (1968), Ron Guidry (1978) and Dwight Gooden (1985). Arrieta also became the first pitcher in major league history to close a campaign with 20-consecutive quality starts. He also set a Wrigley Field record by finishing the year with a 40.2 scoreless innings streak.

On Aug. 30 at Dodger Stadium, Arrieta tossed his first career no-hitter with a 2-0 victory against Los Angeles. Arrieta struck out 12 and walked only one batter.

Awards Watch: Arrieta’s case for the Cy Young

Arrieta_One-hitter(Photo by Stephen Green)

Not since the 2009 National League Cy Young voting has the league seen three different pitchers each receive more than one first-place vote for the award. That year, Adam Wainwright grabbed the most first-place votes, despite finishing third, while Tim Lincecum collected his second consecutive Cy.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if the voting went down in a similar fashion in 2015, as a trio of nominees all put up stellar seasons that would likely make them hands-down favorites almost any other year. Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw looks to make it three in a row and four in five years after another dominant season. His teammate and 2009 AL Cy Young winner Zack Greinke completed the finest season of his Los Angeles tenure. But at the end of the day, both could be looking up at Cubs ace Jake Arrieta, who put up a historically great second half in 2015.

NLCandidates

On the entire season, the 29-year-old Arrieta’s final numbers are more than deserving of final consideration as the league’s top pitcher. For starters, he won a league-best 22 games. Before the relevancy of pitcher wins is argued, it’s worth noting the teams he defeated and how dominant he was against them. In 18 regular-season starts against teams better than .500 this season, he went 12-3 with a 1.48 ERA and managed an elite-level 9.0 strikeout-per-nine rate. Here is how he fared against playoff-bound NL teams:

ArrietavNL1

His 236 strikeouts ranked fourth in the National League and his ridiculously low 1.77 ERA trailed only Greinke this season. But it’s also the second-lowest NL earned run average since 1995, and the ninth-lowest in the last 50 years (aside from Greinke and Dwight Gooden, the other six totals were produced by Hall of Famers Bob Gibson, Greg Maddux, Nolan Ryan, Sandy Koufax and Tom Seaver).

The story of Arrieta’s season and candidacy really boils down to his second half, where he was empirically the most dominant starter in baseball history. His 0.75 ERA in 15 starts after the All-Star break was the best all time, surpassing Gibson’s 1968 season, in which he went a seemingly unsurpassable 11-4 with a 1.19 ERA in 16 starts. In Arrieta’s last 12 starts, he gave up just four earned runs in 88.1 innings for a 0.41 ERA, and struck out 89 batters. The ace highlighted that stretch with a dominating no-hit effort on Aug. 30 against the Dodgers, striking out 12 and giving up just one walk before getting mobbed by his teammates.

One of the many reasons Arrieta was so strong in 2015 was because teams were essentially starting innings with only two outs to play with. He opened a frame on 232 occasions, holding leadoff hitters to a .167/.203/.194 line. Of the 37 hits he allowed to leadoff men, just three were doubles and one was a homer.

And when batters fell behind 0-1 in the count, they hit just .167/.212/.227. That occurred almost 49 percent of the time (11 percent of the time a play ended after the first pitch). Overall, when Arrieta got ahead in the count, batters were just .114/.122/.161.

There isn’t a lot separating these three pitchers, but Arrieta matched Kershaw’s power and Greinke’s command down a historic back stretch of the season. Add in Arrieta’s big-game resume, and his case is difficult to dismiss.

—Phil Barnes

Hot Off the Presses: Sept. Vine Line featuring Cubs ace Jake Arrieta

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Here’s a bit of advice for aspiring sports journalists out there: If you ever plan on writing a story about Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta, you need to get comfortable with waiting. It’s not that Arrieta isn’t accessible or approachable. Quite the contrary, in fact. He’s polite, intelligent, thoughtful and probably takes reporters’ questions much more seriously than they deserve to be taken. And when he’s in the clubhouse, he’s happy to accept queries from all comers.

He’s just not in the clubhouse all that often. And if you’ve ever really looked at the 29-year-old starter, who twirled the first no-hitter of his career Sunday night in front of a national ESPN audience, you can probably imagine why.

When we were trying to track down Arrieta (and his glorious beard) for our cover feature this month, we asked various sources if they had seen him around. Here’s a sampling of the responses we received:

“When I got here at around 2 p.m. (for a 7:05 game), I know he was on his Pilates machine.”

“The last I saw him, he was in the weight room.”

“I know he was throwing earlier. He’s always working. He’s impossible to find sometimes.”

This may or may not come as a surprise to you, but Jake Arrieta is an extremely hard worker. Still, that’s not what makes him unique. Most major leaguers are hard workers. It’s the wide range of activities he does to keep himself in shape—from Pilates to cycling to weights to isometric work—and the gusto with which he undertakes these activities that make him a bit of an oddity.

What I found most interesting during the reporting process was listening to how his teammates talk about him. Even in a room full of professional athletes, most Cubs players still seem to view the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Texan with wonder. Rotation mate Kyle Hendricks said he aspired to be like Arrieta one day. Catcher David Ross called him a tree bark-eating caveman. Pitcher Jason Hammel mythologized him as a Greek god. Most freely admitted they couldn’t keep up with him, while others hesitantly said they were weighing whether they should actually join him on his famous Pilates reformer.

“Some of the stuff I see him do in the weight room, there’s no way my body could even get in those positions,” Hendricks said, laughing.

Arrieta also might be the poster child for why the Cubs need the 1060 Project’s improved player facilities. The current Wrigley Field weight room and clubhouse are surprisingly small, so Arrieta has moved his Pilates machine (yes, he has his own Pilates machine—of course, he has his own Pilates machine) into the media room. In the last few months, Cubs beat writers have grown accustomed to waiting a few extra minutes for their daily pregame briefing with manager Joe Maddon, while Arrieta either does Pilates himself or puts one of his teammates through the paces.

For the last few seasons, people have been asking—and I asked the same question of everyone I spoke to—why the Cubs’ version of Jake Arrieta is so much better than the Orioles’ original version. The consensus answer points back to his Herculean work ethic. Arrieta is truly driven to be great in every aspect of his life. He always had the stuff. That’s why he made an Opening Day start for the Orioles in 2012, even though his numbers never said he was an ace.

This month, we examine how Arrieta transformed himself from an underachieving prospect into one of the top pitchers in the National League. We also get to know the next wave of heavy hitters in the system, this year’s top draft picks Ian Happ and Donnie Dewees. Finally, we look back at the last time the Cubs were flush with young talent during the tenure of aggressive and often aggravating general manager Dallas Green.

The 2015 season is almost in the books, but things are just heating up. Here’s one more piece of advice: Don’t miss a second of the Cubs’ playoff push. We’ll be there for every last pitch in print, on the Web and on Twitter at @cubsvineline.

To subscribe to Vine Line, go to cubs.com/vineline.

Cubscast Mesa: No Average Joe, Impressions of Joe Maddon

This spring, we talked to Cubs players and personnel about everything from their goals for the season to the best prank they’ve ever pulled. With the official Cactus League season wrapping up Wednesday, we round out our spring video series by looking at what the Cubs are getting in new leader Joe Maddon. The 61-year-old skipper has a unique way of relating to players and keeping the clubhouse loose, from having a DJ play on the practice field to wearing old-school coaching shorts during workouts.

And make sure you check out all the other videos from our Spring Training series:

Cubscast Mesa: Spring sit-down with manager Joe Maddon
Cubscast Mesa: The Lighter Side, If I weren’t a ballplayer …
Cubscast Mesa: Checking in with the 2015 Cubs coaching staff
Cubscast Mesa: The Lighter Side, If I could have one talent or superpower
Cubscast Mesa: The Cubs are setting a positive tone in camp
Cubscast Mesa: The Lighter Side, What the Cubs are watching on TV
Cubscast Mesa: The next wave of Cubs talent
Cubscast Mesa: The Lighter Side, The best thing I did this offseason
Cubscast Mesa: Goals for the 2015 season
Cubscast Mesa: The Lighter Side, The best clubhouse prank I’ve ever seen

Cubscast Mesa: The Lighter Side, The best clubhouse prank I’ve ever seen

One of the best things about hanging around the Cubs is you get to know the players off the field. While the team is serious and focused about 2015, there are also some great personalities, and they like to cut loose. During Spring Training, we asked the guys to recall the best prank they have ever pulled—or seen—during their careers.

We’ll be posting videos and stories from Sloan Park all spring, so make sure you’re watching the blog and our Twitter account, @cubsvineline.

Check out the other videos from our Spring Training series:

Cubscast Mesa: Spring sit-down with manager Joe Maddon
Cubscast Mesa: The Lighter Side, If I weren’t a ballplayer …
Cubscast Mesa: Checking in with the 2015 Cubs coaching staff
Cubscast Mesa: The Lighter Side, If I could have one talent or superpower
Cubscast Mesa: The Cubs are setting a positive tone in camp
Cubscast Mesa: The Lighter Side, What the Cubs are watching on TV
Cubscast Mesa: The next wave of Cubs talent
Cubscast Mesa: The Lighter Side, The best thing I did this offseason
Cubscast Mesa: Goals for the 2015 season

Cubscast Mesa: The Lighter Side, What the Cubs are watching on TV

Addicted to The Bachelor? Can’t get enough of The Blacklist? Have a soft spot for 1990s sitcoms? You’re not alone.

Throughout the baseball season, Cubs players spend countless hours on planes or in hotels. Thanks to subscription services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, they’re still able to keep up with their favorite TV shows while they’re on the road. We asked Cubs players and coaches what their favorite programs were and got some interesting answers.

We’ll be posting videos and stories from Sloan Park all spring, so make sure you’re watching the blog and our Twitter account, @cubsvineline.

Check out the other videos from our Spring Training series:

Cubscast Mesa: Spring sit-down with manager Joe Maddon
Cubscast Mesa: The Lighter Side, If I weren’t a ballplayer …
Cubscast Mesa: Checking in with the 2015 Cubs coaching staff
Cubscast Mesa: The Lighter Side, If I could have one talent or superpower
Cubscast Mesa: The Cubs are setting a positive tone in camp

Cubscast Mesa: The Cubs are setting a positive tone in camp

The Cubs finished on a strong note in 2014 and were riding a huge wave of momentum as they entered Spring Training. New veteran additions have joined with the organization’s unmatched young talent to make the Cubs the talk of the Cactus League. We sat down with some of the new and old players to find out what the feeling is like in camp and how it differs from the feeling in previous years.

We’ll be posting videos and stories from Sloan Park all spring, so make sure you’re watching the blog and our Twitter account, @cubsvineline.

Check out the other videos from our Spring Training series:

Cubscast Mesa: Spring sit-down with manager Joe Maddon
Cubscast Mesa: The Lighter Side, If I weren’t a ballplayer …
Cubscast Mesa: Checking in with the 2015 Cubs coaching staff
Cubscast Mesa: The Lighter Side, If I could have one talent or superpower

1000 Words: Happy Birthday to Jake Arrieta

ARRIETA_Cubs_110

(Photo by Stephen Green)

Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta turned 29 years old Friday. The right-hander enjoyed his best season as a major leaguer last year, finishing 10-5 with a 2.53 ERA and a 9.6 K/9 rate over 156.2 innings. He’s projected to start Sunday as the Cubs host the Rangers in Cactus League action.

Cubscast Mesa: The Lighter Side, If I weren’t a ballplayer …

It’s not easy to make it to the big leagues, and some of the guys who do make it can have short careers. That’s why it’s important to have a fallback plan. We asked some of your favorite Cubs players what they would be doing if they weren’t involved in professional baseball.

You may think you know your Cubs, but do you know which man dreams of running a resort hotel? Or who wants to join the FBI? Check out the above video to learn the answers. Some of them might surprise you (we’re looking at you, Pierce Johnson).

We’ll be posting videos and stories from Sloan Park all spring, so make sure you’re watching the blog and our Twitter account, @cubsvineline.

Check out the other videos from our Spring Training series:

Cubscast Mesa: Spring sit-down with manager Joe Maddon

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