As on top of his game as Cubs ace Jake Arrieta might be, manager Joe Maddon conceded he isn’t always perfect.
A day after Pirates starter Jeff Locke suggested Arrieta might have hit third baseman Jung Ho Kang intentionally during the Cubs’ 8-2 victory Saturday, Maddon scoffed at Locke’s assertion.
Locke told reporters that when Arrieta hits anyone, ‘‘You’ve got to assume automatically that one didn’t just get away.’’
Before the game Sunday, Maddon was asked what he thought of the comment, especially given that Locke was one of two players Arrieta walked.
‘‘My point is that [Locke is] suggesting Jake always knows where the ball is going,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘I’m saying it’s evidenced by the fact [Arrieta] walked him on four pitches that he doesn’t always know where the ball is going.’’
Given Arrieta’s dominance despite struggling with his command a bit lately, Maddon said he understands the assumption by opposing hitters that Arrieta can put the ball wherever he wants.
‘‘He’s definitely got a cyborg look about him,’’ Maddon said of Arrieta. ‘‘When you watch him out there, I can see Arnold Schwarzenegger at his best, just going through this pitching motion, pitching exactly where he wants all the time.
‘‘But I think even Arnold messed up a couple of times in ‘Terminator.’ [Arrieta’s] not perfect by any means. When somebody wants to bring it to the forefront, that’s their right to do that. But I think Jake actually said it: You’ll know when he’s wanting to hit somebody.’’
Hitting the road
After winning seven of 10 games on the homestand that wrapped up Sunday, the Cubs will play their next nine games on the road — three each in Milwaukee, San Francisco and St. Louis. The Cubs, who are 13-3 away from home, won’t play again at Wrigley Field until May 27.
Maddon isn’t necessarily a fan of such long trips, but he thinks some positives will come from his team hitting the road, including better weather. The temperature at game time Sunday was 45 degrees.
‘‘There won’t be a wind blowing in our hitter’s faces,’’ Maddon said.
But the trip also will bring its share of challenges, including tests against the Giants and Cardinals.
‘‘We’re going to play against some good teams that play well in their ballparks,’’ right fielder Jason Heyward said. ‘‘So it will be a lot of fun for us.’’
Left-hander Jon Lester’s outing of 6⅔ innings marked the 44th consecutive regular-season game in which a Cubs starter worked at least five innings. The streak is the longest in franchise history since 1910.
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