Every time Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta takes the mound Cub fans wonder whether that day will be the day he finally throws his first no hitter. Arrieta has flirted with no-no’s many times, But last night was the magical night. Arrieta no-hit the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, giving the Dodgers a real blow as they were no –hit nine days earlier by Mike Fiers of the Houston Astros. This marked the first time in Dodgers history that they were no-hit twice in one season.
Kris Bryant’s home run in the first inning with Dexter Fowler on base gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead, and then it was all Arrieta after that, with fielding help from some Starlin Castro in the third inning.
Arrieta, reportedly not happy about his warm up pitches, showed no signs of aggravation when he took the mound. He was calm and cool the entire nine innings, with is fast ball still in the mid to high 90s going into the ninth inning.
Scott Beck, a Cubs fan who moved to San Diego a couple of months ago was in Los Angeles for the three-game series. He said he switched from sitting on the Cubs side of the field to the Dodgers side to try and change the mojo. Whether this helped or not is anyone’s guess. It was the first no hitter Beck had seen in person. He started thinking maybe something special was going to happen when Castro made the only error of the game in the third inning.
“I always thought Jake would throw one,” Beck said, “but I had no clue it would actually be at a game I was at and in LA of all places.”
In a post-game interview, Arrieta was humble as he answered questions. He told reporters that as a kid you always think about throwing a no-hitter. He admitted he did not know how many had been thrown in all of baseball, but knew it in the big picture there weren’t that many. He also admitted that he did not know that the play Castro bobbled had been called an error until a couple of innings later. He thought it was a hit.
The last Cubs no-hitter was thrown by Carlos Zambrano September 14, 2008, against the Houston Astros in a game that was moved to Milwaukee’s Miller Park because of Hurricane Ike.
The Cubs were recently no-hit by the Philadelphia Phillies’ Cole Hamels at Wrigley Field. That day fans openly talked about seeing a no hitter, but having the win go to Arrieta, not Hamels. That no-hitter broke a no-hit streak that lasted almost 50 years. The Cincinnati Reds now hold that record, and the Cubs have started on a new run.
Arrieta’s no hitter was the sixth no-no thrown this season and earned him his 17th win, to lead all pitchers in wins this season. The Dodgers had never been no-hit twice in one season before last night.
Arrieta proved to everyone else what Cubs fans already knew. He is one of the top pitchers in the major leagues. Carole Arett summed it up perfectly.
“It was a dominating performance by a dominant pitchers and his no-no just added the exclamation point.”
Does Arrieta have a another no-no in him in his next start or even the rest of this season? In 1938, Johnny Vander Meer of the Cincinnati Reds pitched two consecutive no-hitters. He is the only pitcher in baseball to achieve that feat. Whether Arrieta has it in him his next start or not, we have all of September to see whether he can pitch another no-hitter this season.