Jake Arrieta lets the Cubs and Pirates know the party is over

SHARE Jake Arrieta lets the Cubs and Pirates know the party is over

The best thing that happened to the Cubs over the weekend was not their champagne-soaked celebration at Wrigley Field on Saturday after clinching a wild-card berth the night before.

It was the way Jake Arrieta soberly took apart the Pirates’ batting order Sunday. While his teammates seemed to be trying to remember where they had parked their cars, Arrieta was his usual untouchable self. He gave up one hit in seven innings, picking up a 4-0 victory and salvaging the series against the Pirates. All with that long, almost pantomime of a delivery.

He’s the reminder to the Cubs that the party is over. And he’s the reminder to the Pirates that they’ll have to get through him if the two teams meet in a one-game playoff. Or, translated, good luck with that.

I’m always a bit uncomfortable with crazy celebrations after teams clinch wild-card berths. If you spray champagne at each other at the lowest rung of the postseason, where do you go from there? If I know Joe Maddon, probably to a petting zoo. He’d have the goats wearing swim goggles.

But this celebration had a little more weight behind it. This is a team that had matured faster than most people thought, and this is a fan base that … well, you know what you’ve been through. The Cubs haven’t exactly been on a first-name basis with the postseason.

Getting a wild-card berth is not like getting a participation trophy. You accomplished something, and you can accomplish more. Once in, you’re like everybody else. You have a chance.

Arrieta didn’t send a message to the Pirates on Sunday that he hadn’t already sent this season. He’s 3-1 with a 0.75 earned-run average against them. He has struck out 33 and walked five.

He’ll be ready. I’m guessing the champagne will be too.


The Latest
In all, at least 72 people were hit by gunfire from Friday evening through the predawn hours of Monday, according to data collected by the Sun-Times. Eight of them died.
The outlook isn’t looking good for nighttime cooling, either, says Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford.
Prospective candidates took turns presenting their piles of papers for counting; officials had to confirm at least 1,000 signatures before they could be submitted. Candidates have until 5 p.m. next Monday to file.
Some fans fought back during a weather-related evacuation at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview outside Chicago.
State Sen. Napoleon Harris III has been chairman of the Illinois Senate’s Insurance Committee for several years. He recently became an “investor” with insurance brokers in the southwest suburbs. He denies any conflict of interest.