The Rundown: Arrieta Picks Up 21st Win with 7 Strong Innings, Who Will Win NL Central? Cubs Honor Aramis Ramirez

The Cubs busted the Pirates’ eight-game winning streak last night, thanks to none other than Jake Arrieta.

The freak-of-nature Cubs ace flirted with another no-hitter, lasting 7 shutout innings and surrendering only one hit. Arrieta struck out nine and walked nobody, picking up his 21st win of the season.

After the game, Joe Maddon said Arrieta not only should be considered for the Cy Young, but the MVP award as well. I don’t think anyone is taking that title from Bryce Harper, but with the way Arrieta is pitching lately, I wouldn’t argue against him as the Cy Young winner.

Simply put, nobody is pitching as well as he is right now. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a Cubs pitcher dominate like this for such a long period. It’s pretty unbelievable.

Now I’m just hoping last-night Arrieta is the same one we see in the one-game Wild Card playoff next week.

Nothing set in stone

About that Wild Card playoff game: who will be the Cubs’ opponent and where will the game be played?

Right now, there are three possibilities: facing the Pirates in Pittsburgh, facing the Cardinals in St. Louis, or facing the Pirates at Wrigley Field.

The matchup in Pittsburgh is probably most likely, and what most of us have been anticipating for a while now. Len Kasper tweets that he is hearing the Pirates have almost a 100 percent chance of starting Gerrit Cole against the Cubs in the one-game playoff.

Despite Francisco Liriano’s success against the Cubs, I think Cole is the right choice.

But it’s no sure thing that the Pirates will be that top Wild Card team. They now sit 3 games back from St. Louis, who gave up seven runs in the 9th yesterday to blow a late lead.

The two teams still have three games against each other, so really anything can happen. If the two teams end the season in a tie, they will have to play a tie-breaker. This would obviously be an advantage for the Cubs if it happens.


Before last night’s game, the Cubs presented former Cub Aramis Ramirez with a number 16 panel from the scoreboard. He’ll be retiring after this year.

A-Ram played nine seasons in Chicago, and was a huge part of three playoff teams after coming over in a trade during the magical 2003 season.

A lot of people like to harp on Ramirez for not performing during the playoffs, but one of my favorite memories of him was when he hit a grand slam in Game 4 of the 2003 NLCS against the Marlins.

I’m glad the Cubs made this gesture. Aramis was a great player in Chicago for many years.

Fight! Fight! Fight!

Tempers were flaring in Washington yesterday, as the Nationals’ Bryce Harper and Jonathan Papelbon got into a heated altercation after Harper flew out.

It looks like Papelbon said something to Harper about making sure to run hard to first and Harper took issue. Then Papelbon grabbed Harper with emotions raging.

It has been a frustrating year for the Nationals, a team that was expected to roll through the NL East after adding Max Scherzer in the offseason.

Bryce Harper has been out of this world this season. Probably not the best time for Papelbon to make a comment like that, and surely shouldn’t have attacked Harper in the dugout. Have to wonder how much Papelbon’s personality weighed into the Cubs’ decision to not acquire him as a bullpen piece during the trade deadline.

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