There were times during the Cubs’ 13-2 victory Friday over the Cardinals when manager Joe Maddon said he saw Jake Arrieta in his 2015 Cy Young form.
Although Maddon insisted it’s almost impossible to replicate what Arrieta did last season, he saw glimpses, especially with the zip Arrieta had on his fastball and the way he pounded the strike zone with it.
When Arrieta was asked whether he had to battle the -Arrieta of last season, he pointed to another target.
“I think I’m competing with [Kyle] Hendricks right now,” Arrieta deadpanned.
Arrieta earned the rotation’s eighth win during the team’s 11-game winning streak. The staff entered the game with a 1.24 ERA during the run.
Though the Cubs’ streak of quality starts ended at nine — Arrieta went 5⅔ innings — they entered tied for the major-league lead with 73 (with the Blue Jays and Nationals), which has created a friendly completion.
“It’s a pass-the-baton-type deal,” starter Jason Hammel said before Friday’s game. “Right now, it’s not that we’re trying to one-up each other, we’re trying to keep that bar at a high level.”
Arrieta tends to play up the competitive banter that exists between himself, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Hammel and Hendricks. But he said there’s a sense that each starter feeds off the performances of the others for the betterment of the club.
“The competitiveness between the group is something that helps carry that over,” Arrieta said. “We all want to have success for a lot of reasons. For our team to fuel the competitiveness of the group is really important, and we’ve done a really good job of that.”
Pitcher Trevor Cahill isn’t scheduled to come off the disabled list this week, which made his presence in the Cubs’ clubhouse a surprise.
Especially to Maddon.
“He might have gotten lost, he may have been driving around Chicago and [decided] maybe to go see a major-league baseball game today,” Maddon joked.
Cahill has been on the disabled list because of patellar tendinitis in his right knee. Maddon said he wasn’t ready to discuss the role Cahill could play, but Cahill and Mike Montgomery are options to start the first game of the day-night doubleheader Tuesday against the Brewers.
Maddon said Hammel likely will start the night game.
This and that
Reliever Pedro Strop underwent surgery Friday morning to repair the torn meniscus that will keep him out for four to six weeks.
υ A fire alarm sounded after the game near the Cubs’ clubhouse. The culprit? The fog machine in the team’s party room, where they celebrate victories. “It happens every night,” Arrieta said. “I’m surprised the alarm doesn’t go off more often.”
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