Cubs Notes: Arrieta Does It All Against Cards, Cubs End Year With Winning Record at Wrigley

Remember when I said Travis Wood’s final start was a microcosm of his 2014 season? Well, the same holds true for Jake Arrieta.

Just as he has done all year, Arrieta dominated on Wednesday, as the Cubs beat the Cardinals 3-1. It’s getting to the point where it’s basically expected that he will get fairly deep into the game before giving up a hit.

On Tuesday, the first hit for the Cardinals against Arrieta came in the top of the fifth. He ended up giving up a run that inning (unearned), but that was all.

Arrieta went seven innings, striking out 10, walking one and allowing only two singles to help the Cubs take two of three from St. Louis.

Oh, and to top it all off, he also ripped a triple, driving in two of the Cubs’ runs. Just ridiculous.

Arrieta finishes the year with a 2.53 ERA and 0.99 WHIP.

He is probably the Cubs’ Opening Day starter next year, right? I feel like even if the Cubs land a Jon Lester or James Shields type, the ball goes to Jake.

Milestones

With the Cubs’ victory on Wednesday, they finished the year over .500 at Wrigley (41-40). It may be a meaningless number, but the result does make it feel like we’re starting to see some progress, despite another last-place finish.

The Cubs haven’t won 40 home games since 2009, when they went 46-34.

Wednesday’s game was the first-ever regular-season home finale played under the lights. The only other time the Cubs ended the season at home at night? 1998, when they battled the Giants in a one-game tiebreaker. (Two words: Gary Gaetti.)

Wednesday was also the final game before the Wrigley Field renovations begin. Next year, the park will have a different feel — both in the ambience and the on-field talent. I can’t wait.

Other notes

* Yet another milestone: On Tuesday night, Anthony Rizzo set a career high in hits for a season (141). He broke his personal record in nearly 100 fewer at-bats. Rizzo did not have a hit in the series finale, but did walk twice.

* Hector Rondon picked up his 27th save on Wednesday with a scoreless ninth. He gave up a couple harmless singles, and the game never felt in doubt. When was the last time the Cubs had a closer who didn’t give you a heart attack while trying to nail down a save? Maybe Marmol in his good years? Rondon joins Lee Smith, Bruce Sutter and Mitch Williams as the only Cubs to save at least 26 games at age 26 or younger.

* During the TV broadcast, Patrick Mooney joined Len and JD and said he thought Addison Russell could potentially be up sometime next year. Russell is only 20 years old; it would be very impressive, and exciting, if he gets a call-up next season. During the same conversation, JD floated the possibility of Javier Baez having to start next year in Triple-A. (He ultimately didn’t think that would happen.) Unless Baez has a historically bad spring, I think it’s almost a lock he starts off in Chicago, despite his contact issues this year.

* Paul Sullivan outlines some of the expected features of the left-field video board, set to be completed by Opening Day next season. He says the board most likely will play commercials but there probably won’t be a “kiss cam.” I’m excited to see the new board and have access to more in-game data while watching a game at Wrigley. It might take a bit of getting used to, but I don’t think there will be much of an adjustment period.

Bryan O'Donnell

After graduating from Purdue, O'Donnell entered the publishing industry and now works as a copy editor for a nonprofit. When not watching, reading about, or writing about baseball, he's most likely over-analyzing music or current TV shows. He has a soft spot in his heart for both the beaches of Alabama and the mountains of Colorado. You may not know it to look at him, but he can run really, really fast. Follow him on Twitter at @bodonnell14.

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