With his second no-hitter, Jake Arrieta moves beyond ridiculous
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This is ridiculous. No, check that. We passed ridiculous a long time ago.
This is somewhere between absurd and otherworldly.
You don’t have to be a Cubs fan to appreciate what Jake Arrieta is doing, though judging by how social media reacted to his second no-hitter in less than a year, you might want to order whatever it is they’re having.
Arrieta’s no-hitter Thursday night against the Reds was another thing of beauty in a Cubs career full of beautiful pitching performances. He struck out six, walked four and threw 119 pitches in a 16-0 victory in Cincinnati.
Oh, and he had two hits and a walk in the game. Sort of over the top, don’t you think, Jake?
“It was a blast,’’ he said. “That’s fun.’’
It wasn’t as dominant as his no-hitter last season against the Dodgers, when he struck out 12 and walked just one in a 2-0 victory August 30. After tucking in the Dodgers, the Cubs donned pajamas for the flight back to Chicago.
That’s two no-hitters in 11 regular-season starts for Arrieta. Preposterous. And true.
This has become so much the norm for Arrieta that there couldn’t have been many surprised people when the no-no updates starting showing on Twitter five innings into his night. Last season, he had a second half that no one had even thought to dream of before. He set a major-league record with a 0.75 earned-run average after the All-Star break. His 1.77 ERA for the season was the lowest for a Cubs starter since 1919. That fueled his way to the National League Cy Young award.
So surprising? No, there was nothing surprising about Arrieta’s performance Thursday night. It has gotten to the point where you’d be more surprised if he had a rotten outing than if he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. That’s not exaggeration. That’s simply the truth.
The rebuilding Reds aren’t good, but there is no asterisk on a no-hitter. There are enough major-league hitters in their lineup that it was a challenge for Arrieta. He kept the ball low all night, and the Reds were lost.
Arrieta is not just physically talented, and he’s not just in phenomenal shape. There’s a supreme confidence to this guy. You can see it in his icy glare when he’s facing a hitter. He believes in himself, and he believes in his studious approach to the game. Maybe just as important, opponents seem to believe they don’t have much of a shot against him either. That’s a diabolical combination.
The last hitter of the night was Eugenio Suarez. On a 2-2 count, he flew out to Jason Heyward in right field. A second later, Arrieta was locked in a bear hug with catcher David Ross. Not long after, there was the requisite Gatorade bath.
Arrieta is 9-0 in regular-season games since the no-hitter at Dodger Stadium. He’s 4-0 this season. You get the picture. He’s beyond ridiculous.