I had no intention of blogging today, but then…
Look, it’s no mystery that the Cincinnati Reds are just plain awful.
Please don’t tell me that they are 8-8.
Zach Buchanan at the Cincinnati Enquirer points out how the Chicago Cubs are “light years ahead” of the rest of the league with a plus-60 run differential this far while the next best team (the Washington Nationals) are just plus-31.
But then he says everybody should calm down and remember that the Reds are 8-8.
If he’s going to point out the Cubs’ run differential, he might want to take a look at his own team’s as well.
The Reds have averaged 3.9 runs scored per game while allowing a league-worst 5.9 per game.
You don’t average being outscored by 2 full runs and finish the season .500.
They have a Pythagorean record of 5-11, which is a more accurate representation of their talent level.
Their last four wins have each been by 1-run margins.
By contrast, four of their eight losses have been by 7 runs or more.
That’s not to take anything away from Jake Arrieta, who has pitched like Superman for the last several years now.
He’s off to a 4-0 start with a 0.87 ERA.
Take on his last 28 starts from 2015 to give us a full-season of 32 starts and you get 23-4 with a 1.50 ERA.
He has made 24 consecutive quality starts in the regular season. In that stretch, he’s gone 20-1 with a 0.86 ERA. (The only loss was when Cole Hamels threw a no-hitter against the Cubbies.)
So he’s been doing alright, that Jake guy.
My favorite moment from the post-game interview with Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies on the Cubs’ TV crew was Arrieta pointing out some of the superstitions surrounding throwing no-hitters: “Business as usual, other than ‘Javy’ (Javier Baez) was in my spot before the eighth inning, so I kind of gave him a little hell for that, told him to never do that again.”
David Ross caught the first no-hitter of his career in this, his final season. This shower is pretty spectacular.
“Grandpa Rossy” came into the interview room towards the tail end of Arrieta’s session with the media, saying “I didn’t want any questions — I just want a picture” then sitting down for photos with his pitcher.
Remember April 11th, when Brandon Finnegan started for the Reds against the Cubs and took a no-hitter into the 7th inning?
Neither do the Cubs’ batters.
In a merciless outburst, Chicago racked up 5 runs on 7 hits and a pair of walk in 4 innings of work for Finnegan, who fell to 1-1 on the season.
Relievers Tim Melville and Drew Hayes each allowed 4 runs in 2 innings of work.
The final score was 16-0.
Arrieta himself had a pair of hits. Ross homered and scored three runs. Kris Bryant had four hits and homered twice (4). Anthony Rizzo homered. Ben Zobrist had his first Cubs’ homer and was a triple shy of the cycle.
All along I was watching the game and feeling a little bad for Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who we know wants to protect Arrieta’s arm and make sure he has bullets left in it for October baseball.
This violates a maxim of baseball, assuming that you will get to the playoffs. But with a 12-4 start to the season and the way this roster is built, it’s about as safe a bet as you can get. Still, no guarantees…
With the team running away with it, there was no reason to leave Arrieta in. It was a perfect opportunity to rest his arm, pull him after 6 or 7 innings only having thrown maybe 80-90 pitches.
Instead, Maddon had to leave Arrieta in and just sort of wait and see what happened.
Couldn’t help but wonder if part of him was thinking “please just give up a hit so I can get you out of there.”
But Arrieta was not to be denied.
There was some good material in the Twitter-verse following the no-no, including love between the Arrieta’s family and Ross and the Los Angeles Dodgers (victims of Arrieta’s 2015 no-hitter) consoling the Reds.
His 2nd no-hitter in as many seasons is in the books and the Cubs are on a nice roll, taking advantage of a their cupcake April schedule.