By RICK SOLEM
The Chicago Cubs don’t have a lot of weapons in their arsenal, but Jake Arrieta has become a good one.
The 28-year-old righty has seemingly come out of nowhere this season, his fifth in the big leagues.
Monday, he flirted with a no-hitter through seven innings against the Boston Red Sox – a week after he had a perfect game going against Cincinnati. Accoridng to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last pitcher with to do that through six innings in consecutive starts was Dave Stieb in 1988 (both lasted 8⅔ innings).
Against Boston, Arrieta finished 7⅔ innings with 10 strikeouts. He gave up one walk and a hit and, oddly enough, the Cubs won. In fact, the Cubs have won their last four Arrieta has started.
When Arrieta left the mound Monday, the Boston crowd gave him a loud ovation.
“Something like that in Fenway is pretty rare for an opposing team, so yeah I got some goosebumps there,” he told the Associated Press. “That’s why you play this game, for moments like that. I was very thankful to be a part of something like that.”
Through 11 games this season, Arrieta is 5-1 with a 1.81 ERA. In his last five games, he has 46 strikeouts and just three walks.
Arrieta’s ERA last year was 4.78 – 7.23 with Baltimore, then a trade to the Cubs saw it drop to 3.66.
His quote to the O’s beat writer is as good as his season has been.
The Milwaukee Brewers, who are 5-4 against Chicago this season, likely won’t see Arrieta until a four-game stretch in mid-August.
Arrieta gives the Cubs two powerful pitchers, but only one is winning games. Righty Jeff Samardzija has been nearly as dominant – save for a couple implosions this season – but is just 2-7.
Samardzija, 29, has a 2.83 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 108 innings. The Cubs have been shut out in five of his starts and have scored two runs or less in 11 of his 17 games.
Come next year, however – or even this season, before the trade deadline – the Cubs may be, again, down to one ace. Samardzija earlier this season turned down a five-year, $85 million offer from the Cubs.