I figured I would be writing this morning about Jake Arrieta‘s second consecutive no-hitter, thrown in blustery weather against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field last night.
But perpetual rain took the game away from the Chicago Cubs, so instead we’re left with a rash of allegations (suspicions?) that Arrieta is juicing.
The loudest voices in these claims are notorious gasbags Stephen A. Smith and Ozzie Guillen Jr., so… perhaps best left not examined.
In today’s day and age, it’s never exactly shocking if a player is found to be using PED.
With Arrieta, I’m inclined to think that his renowned workout regimen and dedication to healthy eating has everything to do with it.
It also seems that in my 30-plus years of really watching baseball I’ve seen numerous examples of pitchers who didn’t really turn the corner until their late 20s, learning how to pitch and not just throw.
Arrieta was a top prospect with the Baltimore Orioles, so it’s not as though his recent success is completely shocking. That, coupled with coming over to Chicago under pitching coach Chris Bosio, seems to indicate more a case of “finally figuring things out”.
But, again, modern times lead me to think that anything is possible. I just don’t plan to dwell on this any more.
Elsewhere in the division, the Pittsburgh Pirates won for the 6th time in their last 7 games, running their winning streak up to 5 with a 9-8 win in 12 innings over the Colorado Rockies.
Andrew McCutchen did not homer, but did go 2-for-5 with a double to continue his rebound from a rough start to the season.
Fellow outfielders Starling Marte (2-for-5, SB) and Gregory Polanco (HR) also enjoyed nice nights.
It was a battle of awful starting pitching, with Jon Niese getting roughed up again – 5 IP, 5 ER, 10 H, 2 BB, 5 SO.
For the Rox, Jon Gray went just 3.2 innings, allowing 6 runs on 9 hits and a walk.
Also coming up winners were the St. Louis Cardinals, who took down the Arizona Diamondbacks, 11-4, thanks to a 5-run 6th and 3-run 7th that put the game out of reach.
Stephen Piscotty went 4-for-5 with a pair of RBI and is hitting .305 with a .917 OPS this season.
The lineup had to bail out starting pitcher Adam Wainwright, who allowed 4 runs in 5.1 innings of work to see his ERA drop to 7.16 in 2016. He allowed 7 hits (2 of which left the park) and walked one.
Waino has allowed a .327 batting average against this season, which is well above a .245 career mark. His WHIP of 1.70 is ghastly. Possibly telling is his 0.94 ground ball/fly ball ratio. He’s usually sitting around 1.4, so maybe he’s leaving the ball up.
Not sure what to make of this, but here’s a comparison of his pitch locations for 2015 versus 2016.
His career walk rate is 6.1% but so far this season it’s 8.7%.
The most telling differences between those two graphs is to see how much more he’s missing high (4.15% in 2016 versus 2.35% last season) as well as a pretty astounding rate at throwing low and right (from the catcher’s perspective) – 11% this season.
Let’s take a look at the velocity.
While last season he was hitting 94 with his four-seam and sinker, this season he’s seeing more 91. Similarly, the cutter has gone down from 89 to 87.
Right now, his velocity is down a couple of ticks and he can’t seem to locate his pitches.
To his credit, he did only walk one batter last night. And he had 6 outs on the ground compared to 0 in the air, so maybe things are turning around.
Still, it bears keeping an eye on.