The Rundown: Arrieta on Sunday Start and Lackey’s Future, Cubs to Hold Watch Parties

As of Friday morning, Jake Arrieta is still listed as the probable starter for Sunday’s finale against the Reds. From what he’s been saying the last couple days, however, that may not come to pass. He told reporters after Tuesday’s 8-7 loss to the Cardinals — the only game the Cubs dropped in the series — that he was not 100 percent healthy and that 170 innings was enough to ensure he was good for the playoffs.

Ah, but he’s only at 168.1 innings pitched on the season. In all seriousness, there’s probably not much to be gained from getting in a few more throws against what is sure to be a questionable Reds lineup. Not to mention the game has no playoff implications whatsoever.

When Arrieta was initially activated a little earlier than expected, it was with the idea that he’d be able to get in three starts to build strength for the postseason. But as he admitted Thursday on 670 The Score’s Bernstein and Goff Show, he may have rushed things a little bit.

“I think that just my desire to get back on the field as quick as I possibly could might not have been the smartest thing,” Arrieta said. “I might have come back a little early, a little premature, but I wanted to be out there and help us in any way I could, especially at the time when we hadn’t cemented our spot in the postseason yet. I’ve had to alter my effort level out there.”

He added that he felt fine and that being forced to dial back the effort level of his delivery may end up being a good thing. The radar gun certainly thought that was the case. As we saw with that start against the Cards, however, Arrieta had trouble really finishing his pitches and locating properly. So if getting him all the way back to full health means skipping that last start, you can bet on a Johnny Wholestaff game Sunday.

“It’s actually going to be nice to take some time,” the former Cy Young winner said. “I’m not exactly sure how we’re going to approach Sunday yet, if I’m maybe going to make that start. But I think the biggest thing is just to get the rest I need for the playoff start.”

Arrieta also discussed the Cubs’ post-clinch celebration, which included a little blackjack at a nearby casino. He was coy about how much he dropped per hand, but said it was “a little more than” $5-10. He also let slip that Anthony Rizzo was running low on cash and that Kris Bryant, a Vegas native, had to play the role of banker. Not sure how the accountants feel about blowing through all that Bryzzo cash.

Though it’s not been confirmed, reports out of St. Louis say that Tommy Pham thinks Rizzo hit 16 against a 6 on purpose.

Speaking of betting against common practice, Arrieta even said that he thinks John Lackey will return to pitch for one more season. I can’t imagine that really being the case, nor can I see the Cubs bringing him back, but Lackey has never actually said that he’s retiring and Arrieta would know better than the rest of us how his teammate is feeling.

Wrigley watch parties

Crane Kenney told the Tribune that the Cubs plan to hold watch parties at The Park at Wrigley for road playoff games. The team is still working out details with the city and the Chicago Police Department, but Kenney did tickets will be required for entry. Whether there will be a cost or not is unknown at this point, though a team spokesman said there could be a tie-in with Cubs Charities.

The NLDS opens in Washington next Friday, so expect for all the information to be finalized in the coming days.

More news and notes

  • Carlos Rodon had arthroscopic surgery to repair a bad case of bursitis in his left shoulder.
  • The Brewers are still in contention for the Wild Card, but they’re two games back of the Rockies with three to play.
  • The Mets are just a mess, man
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